Celebrity Cruises Summit by Mark Singleton Alaska May 7, 2006
I too took this cruise. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. For Celebrity to say that only four or five people complained is even more of an understatement. Despite the loss of two ports of call - Seattle and Sitka and the fact that our other ports of call were cut short and the eventual trip down the Inside Passage, I think the final straw was our uneventful trip to the Hubbard Glacier, which I believe would have been the highlight of the trip for most people onboard.
Food was served no more than faintly hot; sanitization left a lot to be desired and staff morale was obviously low. This is not what I expected from a company of such high esteem.
When I thought things could not get any worse, when we finally disembarked some 1 1/2 hrs late, we were left standing inside the docks, lined up like a group of naughty children for 45 minutes while our coach transfers were sorted out. Just another instance of disorganisation which seemed to be the norm.
I certainly didn't feel likea Celebrity that day, or any other day of the 13 night cruise !
Prologue The following is my review of the Celebrity Summit 13 night West Coast and Alaska cruise that began on May 7, 2006. The food, service and entertainment on the Summit were, in my opinion very good. The entertainment was good and the highlights were several piano concerts by Brooks Ahrens. Brooks only made a few appearances on select Celebrity cruises last year. With the cuts by Celebrity I would doubt if he be returning this year. Our cabin was a CC balcony and was in fair condition considering the ship's age. We found the public areas to be in fairly good condition. With the notable exception of the Captain, Hotel Manager and the Cruise Director, the staff on the Summit were always very friendly and the service was very good.
Day 1 -- Sunday, May 7, 2006: The Celebrity Summit arrives late at Los Angeles. Although we are seated for dinner several decks above the "pods" (the propulsion system), we feel severe rumbling noises and vibrations. As veterans of many cruises, we know the rumbling is not normal and indicates problems.
Day 2 -- Monday, May 8, 2006: Instead of spendinga scheduled night at sea, the Celebrity Summit arrives at San Francisco at 11:30 pm. The only reason given is that unspecified "repairs" must be made, but that the repairs won't affect the cruise. Although the repairs remain unspecified, the rumbling and vibrations, coupled with the poor history of pods on this class of ship, which we found out about after the fact, leave little doubt that the pods have once again failed (as they have on a yearly basis since 2002). Spent a great day in San Francisco.
Day 3 -- Tuesday, May 9, 2006: The Captain announces that experts have been flown in from Lloyds to double-check that everything is okay. He adds that two U.S. inspectors have also approved the repairs. He assures us that the ship passed all inspections and is ready to sail. We depart San Francisco more than two hours late. Sadly, the engine vibrations are still noticeable at dinner.
Day 4 -- Wednesday, May 10, 2006: Shortly before noon, the Captain announces that a problem with the starboard pod means the ship's speed must be reduced by more than twenty percent. This slower speed means that two ports -- Seattle and Sitka -- will be skipped and time in most other ports will be reduced. The Captain goes on to announce that, to compensate the passengers for this complete rewrite of what had been promised, each cabin will receive a $200 shipboard credit. The perceived discrepancy between what the passengers had purchased, what is now being foisted on them, and the $200 shipboard credit being offered as compensation angers most of the passengers and -- acting individually -- hundreds of passengers go to the Celebrity customer service desk in the main atrium. The personnel there offer no assistance as the crowd of passengers grows. The Captain agrees to a meeting in the main theater. About 800 very upset and angry passengers attend the meeting as the Captain takes questions from the passengers but offers no solutions Celebrity does, however, agree to fly in "two senior executives" to the next port (Ketchikan four days later) to talk with any unhappy passengers.
To add insult to injury at this point the Cruise Director speaks to the passengers in a condescending manner and relates what a great time he is having on this cruise and how happy everyone should be. This supercilious attitude only helps increase the passengers' unrest. Lest you think this arrogance is exaggerated, the meeting was videotaped by the ship's cameras as well as several passengers' cameras.
Day 5 -- Thursday, May 11, 2006: The Celebrity Summit skips Seattle and remains at sea. As the level of passenger frustration grows, as a group the passengers decide that the $200 offer is an insult and further decide not to accept it. The Purser's office refuses to remove the credit from all accounts.
Day 6 -- Friday, May 12, 2006: Scheduled sea day.
Day 7 -- Saturday, May 13, 2006: The Celebrity Summit arrives in Ketchikan where two hours are cut from the port time and the two "senior executives" that were flown in turn out to be two young employees who haven't seen the video tape of the meeting and know very little about the situation. The passengers (who have to wait for hours) are told that the two men have no authority and are just there to "take notes". We spent the day exploring Ketchikan Especially enjoyed Creek Street. Also rode the city bus which does a loop around the city.
Day 8 -- Sunday, May 14, 2006: The Celebrity Summit arrives in Juneau where more port time is cut. My wife and I visit the customer representatives, who are giving out numbers. Mine is 110 while they call out number 8. Sensing the futility, I leave. Another beautiful day is spent exploring Juneau.
Day 9 -- Monday, May 15, 2006: The Celebrity Summit arrives in Skagway where more port time is cut. We rented a car and drove to Emerald Lake which is a truly fantastic drive. I return to the customer representatives and find they only got to number 38 yesterday. They have abandoned the number system since most of the numbers, for some unexplained reason, are missing.
Day 10 -- Tuesday, May 16, 2006: After all that has gone on and doing our best to make the best out of a bad situation we were anxiously were looking forward to the highlight of the cruise which would be cruising up to Hubbard Glacier. Four hours at Hubbard Glacier is planned. The Celebrity Summit stops some seven to eight miles away from the glacier. We see another Celebrity ship leaving the glacier and a Holland America ship sitting just off the face of the glacier. The Celebrity Summit turns and leaves. The Captain's explanation is that "another ship was there first, so we cannot go on". What little patience I had left now disappears. The two passenger reps seem to have found a pattern in all of the complaints and they decide not to talk to any more passengers, even though the Captain had promised that they would talk to everyone.
Day 11 -- Wednesday, May 17, 2006: The Celebrity Summit skips Sitka and remains at sea. With their complaints being met with indifference, unrest among the passengers continues to grow.
Day 12 -- Thursday, May 18, 2006: A day-long cruise of the Inside Passage is planned. By 7:00 am the passengers realize the Celebrity Summit is in the open ocean and is at anchor. About two hours later the Captain announces that "due to the fog" the ship will drop anchor until 5:00 pm so that the passengers can get a better view of the Inside Passage. When the fog promptly lifts some thirty minutes later, the ship remains at anchor until 5:00. With the cruise so pressed for time, no one can understand the reasoning that justifies a nine-hour delay to just sit at anchor in the open ocean. Doggedly, the passengers assemble for yet another meeting -- this one the largest of the cruise. At the meeting, two passengers who are short wave radio enthusiasts report hearing communication around 7:00 that morning between the bridge and the pilot who is required for the Inside Passage. The Captain had failed to arrange for a pilot and the earliest one could be onboard was 5:00 pm. This is later confirmed by one of the passenger reps. Petitions are circulated at the meeting and more than 1,200 are collected.
During the night, a note from the Captain is slipped under our door. The note offers a 30% credit on the price of our next Celebrity cruise priced at the full rack rate. We have been on fifteen cruises and have always received more than 30% off the maximum rate.
Day 13 -- Friday, May 19, 2006: The Celebrity Summit arrives in Victoria with again time cut from this port. We rented a car and drove to Buchard Gardens and drove around this beautiful city.
Day 14 -- Saturday, May 20, 2006: The Celebrity Summit arrives in Vancouver in the middle of the night rather than the morning as scheduled. The ship is then sent to dry dock to, once again fix the pods.
Epilogue All calls and letters to Celebrity to try and address our treatment on this cruise have been met with total indifference. Most of the passengers who were on board this cruise are not going to just accept what happened. There should be a final decision later on this year as to just what rights, if any, passengers do have in cases like this.
Celebrity Cruises Summit by jwfhunts - April 9, 2006 THE SUMMIT. - Hawaii Circle Cruise - 9th - 23rd April 2006.
It has been over 25 years, since we last visited The Hawaiian Islands; so for something different, we chose a 14-night roundtrip cruise from Los Angeles with Celebrity Cruises on their ship - The Summit. We chose the air/sea programme from the United Kingdom.
Travel documentation arrived well ahead of departure. The information supplied was relevant and ticketing was correct. There was no shore excursion information, but details of these were found on the Celebrity web site.
Pre-cruise Travel documentation arrived well ahead of departure. The information supplied was relevant and ticketing was correct. There was no shore excursion information, but details of these were found on the Celebrity web site.
On arrival at Los Angeles International Airport, we were met and welcomed by a Celebrity Representative, immediately having cleared the customs area. This rep was extremely professional and advised us about the best places to eat and visit in San Pedro, port of Los Angeles, where our overnight accommodation was located. She escorted us to the Super Shuttle pick up point andremained with us until the arrival of the shuttle - gone are the days where guests travelling with Celebrity are transferred to their hotel by limousine, taxi or private coach. After two or three circles of the entire airport terminals and the many drop-offs in San Pedro, we eventually arrived at our hotel, a distance of 25 miles from the airport, some 90 minutes later.
On arrival at the hotel, there was a letter from Celebrity advising us as to departure arrangements the next morning to join the ship. Luggage was collected from our rooms at the indicated times and the coach departed on schedule at 1.30pm for the short ride of about five minutes to the terminal building.
On arrival at the pier side, the first thing noticed was the massive queue, which snaked in many directions. We were advised that this was the queue or "line" for security. Some 125 minutes later we eventually reached the security control and were quite surprised that only two facilities were open for the search of some 1950 guests and their hand baggage.
It is obvious that Celebrity are only too well aware of such delays, as, whilst waiting in the queue, sandwiches, savouries and drinks were provided to waiting passengers. Fortunately, the weather was fine. Whilst one fully appreciates the need for meaningful security in this day and age, consideration should be given to providing additional search facilities and that Celebrity transfer guests overnighting on their air/sea package at an earlier time to the terminal, prior to the inbound departure day flight passengers arriving at pier side directly from the airport, bearing in mind that check-in and boarding commence much earlier.
After clearing security, check-in was swift and professional and a short time later we boarded the ship.
The Stateroom Celebrity Summit, a "Millennium Class" ship, of some 91,000 tons entered service in October 2001. For this cruise, we had chosen Concierge Class accommodations. Our cabin, or stateroom was located on deck 9. On entering the vessel, we were given a lukewarm half glass of champagne and we were offered the opportunity to be escorted to our cabin. Initial observations were that the cabin was clean, spacious and comfortable. Not having travelled in this class of cabin before, we were not fully aware of what benefits this entailed so sought guidance from the Concierge in this regard. We were advised that these included...
Stateroom AmenitiesWelcome Champagne. Fresh Flowers Selection of Fruit. Afternoon canapés Leather key holder Binoculars for use on board. Personalized stationery. Oversized tote bag Umbrella to use throughout the cruise Tensions-absorbing pillow-top mattresses Plush duvets Designed room service breakfast menu Bathroom amenities: Plush bath rugs Oversized Egyptian cotton towels Double-thick Frette bathrobes Two hairdryers A Hansgrohe showerhead Selection of fine shampoos, body lotions, soaps, shower cap, breath mints and sewing kit. A Menu of Pillows Sofa Pillows.
Priority ServicesExpress Luggage Delivery Laundry and Pressing Service Shoe Shine Service. Extended Room Service Dining and seating preferences VIP invitation to events Preference on Shore Excursions Early Embarkation and disembarkation Priority Tendering.
Most of the above were available, others we had to ask for. It took six hours from our arrival at the pier until our luggage appeared at our stateroom - you could hardly call this express service! After having settled in the stateroom and on closer examination, we saw that there was dust everywhere - on shelves, on ledges, in cupboards, on the pictures. A Gideon's Bible was on top of the bedside unit - I was able to run my finger along it and leave a trace. In the wardrobes, there were plastic bags and other items obviously having been discarded by previous guests. Under the bed there were crumbs, and empty biscuit packagings, whilst on the balcony there were empty cardboard coffee cups and discarded cocktails sticks. Not the standard that one expects from Celebrity, and being perfectly honest, this was the first time in over a dozen cruises that I have ever encountered a problem of this nature onboard any of the Celebrity fleet. Another most noticeable thing was in respect of the balcony. Owing to the design of deck 10, (the deck above ours) - an open deck - this deck extends well over the sides of the ship, thus preventing the sun nearly all of the time from actually reaching the balcony areas - not much use to those who want to spend time sunning themselves in the privacy of their own balcony.
Incidentally, very few of the balcony cabins on this ship have total "privacy"; most can be seen in one way or another from other decks/balconies. Beware, too, of cabins with connecting doors - this decreases the insulation levels thus noise travels and you can hear your neighbour's conversation even if they chat in low voices. Also, if your neighbours are smokers the smoke can magically make its way into the adjoining cabin.
We spoke with the our room steward who apologised and explained that on turnaround days things are hectic and he did not have the time to pay attention to the smaller details as indicated by myself. I queried if such an amount of dust could gather within 24 hours? In fairness to him, while at dinner, he did clean the areas identified, but others not mentioned remained untouched. We also had to request simple items, like a "do not disturb" sign, note paper, laundry lists - things that should automatically be checked prior to any new occupation of staterooms.
Onboard Entertainment We then went to the show and our first dinner on board.
Previously the entertainment offered on Celebrity ships was good but nothing to write home about. However on this cruise, the entertainment on board this cruise was excellent. There was something for everyone. Special mention must be afforded to The Celebrity Singers and Dancers, the Celebrity Orchestra and those who presented the Cirque du Soleil and the Master Ventriloquist whose performances and presentations were outstanding. Music provided by other groups/solo acts in the various lounges throughout the ships was acceptable, though more variation would have been welcomed; 3 orchestral strings groups, a harpist, a guitarist and a string quartet, is a wee bit of an overkill. On many of the evenings, life on the Summit appeared to die at around 10.30pm - we found too many pre-dinner shows for 2nd seating guests. Unlike other ships where something major is happening in each lounge offering guests a choice, this just did not happen on the Summit. The "featured" entertainment programme although excellent was indeed limited. Timing of events in particular was badly planned - the Chocoholics Buffet and the Hawaiian Fruit Deck buffet were scheduled for 10.15pm, a time when guests on second seating were still at dinner. The Entertainment Staff were highly visible throughout the ship.
Ship Planning and Appearance The programme of events for the following day - "Celebrity Today" was delivered to the cabins each evening. This was informative, but unfortunately did not appear to be checked for omissions or errors. On Easter Day, the biggest day in the Christian calendar, the notification of the time and location of the Catholic Mass was omitted - this caused many who missed this most holiest of celebrations a lot of personal distress.
Omissions such as this and other minor matters gave an overall impression that there was a lack of attention to detail in many aspects on this cruise. Others being, that whilst the ship is spotlessly clean, streak marks could be clearly seen on glass, dark wood, and mirrored surfaces and especially on stainless steel surfaces in and around the elevators. Though when this was pointed out to staff, they indicated this was due to the materials being used to prevent gastro infections and these could not be wiped off for some 48 hours after application. Ashtrays remained un-emptied and litter bins the same. Clocks not advanced after time changes etc.
Chairs are badly soiled and showing signs or wear and tear especially in the Rendez-Vous Lounge.
Cuisine Meals served from the main menu in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant, were again excellent - well presented, well prepared and expertly served by a most professional waiter and assistant waiter who quickly learned and always remembered our likes and dislikes. At each meal, they welcomed us with a smile and took a genuine interest as to how our day had been etc.
However if one chose as an alternative steak, chicken or salmon for their main course, (these items are always available) - this was very much a hit and miss affair. On a number of occasions, we were unable to eat our steaks as they were either too tough, fatty and/or tasteless.
The Assistant Maitre 'd for our sector in the dining room did visit the table each evening and gave a well-rehearsed spiel. If you did ask him a question about something not included in this spiel, or complained about the meal, this caused him complete confusion, panic and seemed to send him into a thither, which caused him to disappear from the main dining room floor until the next evening.
There are a number of tables for two. Chairs throughout the restaurant do not have armrests.
It amazes me that when booking a cruise, passengers are always asked as to what size of a table they wish to be seated at for dinner? Why? Very seldom does anyone take any notice of this. On this particular cruise this was plainly obvious with many guests playing musical chairs for the first week of the cruise. Other single guests found themselves alone at tables as other table companions who had asked for large tables, as had the single guests, demanded and were moved, but the solo guests request was like a cry in the wilderness. This was indeed bad restaurant management.
Incidentally some guests had to ask if there was actually a Maitre 'd Hotel/ Restaurant Manager on board and in charge of the dining room. We never saw him on the ground floor level of the restaurant at any time, nor did he visit either our or any tables in our immediate vicinity throughout the cruise.
There are a number of alternative options for dining, from Room Service which is available 24 hours a day, to the more casual Waterfall Café, A Hamburger Station, Pizza, Pasta and Salad Bar, a Sushi Café and of course the Aqua Spa Café for healthy choice all day dining. Each of these serveries offered the same type of fayre to be found on other cruise ships of similar ratings. The one main noticeable difference between other lines and Celebrity is that there is an abundance of staff available to assist in the carrying of trays to seating areas not only on the Summit, but also on all Celebrity Ships.
The operation of the Waterfall Café is well executed, however food each day became repetitive and after a time all began to taste the same.
The selection of fruit on this cruise was disappointing, just the basic melons, pineapples, grapes and oranges as core fruits. These on the whole were not ripe and were tasteless. Bring back the days when guests were offered as the norm, papaya, mango, kiwi fruit and the like. There seemed to be great use of canned and frozen fruits. The selection of breads and cheese was reasonable. However to make up for these "weaknesses" the range of deserts available was outstanding.
For that Special Occasion the Normandie Restaurant for A La Carte Dining is open each evening, a cover service of USD$30.00 per person is added to each guests account who visit this restaurant. We did not eat in the Normandie, but reports from those who did were encouraging.
There is no 24-hour dining in any of the restaurants on board, though coffee, tea and juices are available 24 hours a day from the Waterfall Café. There are no Midnight Buffets, but waiters roaming the various lounges each evening serving "Gourmet Bites".
The Staff One thing that really sticks out on the Summit, is the immaculate dress and turnout of all staff from the cleaners right through to the senior officers on board and the friendliness of all the staff. In saying that it was only on a very rare occasion that you saw any of the senior officers other than the Captain and Staff Captain around the ship. I endeavoured to arrange a meeting with the Hotel Director on at least two occasions to discuss, what I considered to be fairly important matters, but he declined to meet with me.
Stateroom Concerns Solved So now for our first nights sleep on board. As previously mentioned, deck 10 is an open deck and each time anyone even walked or worse, ran along this deck, boom boom boom, the noise when deck loungers were being moved early in the morning, most probably for cleaning purposes, the clatter and the bang that these movements made was unbelievable, them seemed to echo and probably with the stillness of the night the noise was magnified, but enough to keep us from sleeping. The next morning, I mentioned this to the Concierge that I was unhappy with our cabin and outlined to her some of the difficulties to date. Later that afternoon, there was a message from the front desk offering us an alternative cabin on a lower deck. This cabin was far more suitable and much more quiet. Full marks to Celebrity. Periodically for the remainder of the cruise, Guest Relations checked to see that "everything was in order" and could they do anything in addition to assist in making our cruise more enjoyable.
Weather Unfortunately, the weather on the voyage out to Hawaii was not kind to us. It was cold, wet and windy. There was noticeable movement throughout the ship and lots of empty places each evening in the dining room - this voyage did route us right across to Pacific Ocean One has to remember that The Summit is "a flat bottomed boat" and not a ship especially designed for oceanic crossings, thus increased movement can be expected. The weather did improve when we reached the islands, and on the return voyage.
Beverages There is a vast wine list on board, with reasonable prices. Well-stocked bars and lounges are dotted throughout the ship. A Vodka and Coco-cola was $6.33 including gratuities, somewhat more expensive than on other cruise lines, especially British ships, but in saying that, you could really taste or should I say feel the alcohol in the drink. Throughout the cruise it was pleasing to note that none of the staff, either in the bars or the photographers were aggressive in their approach - unlike so many other ships.
Other Shipboard Options At each port of call, there were many organised tours, offered by the shore excursion staff, these represented value for money, were good in content and operated on time.
On a ship of this size, there is the usual range of facilities available; an Aqua Spa, a Casino, Children's Facilities, Shops, an Acupuncture at Sea Clinic, an Art Gallery and an Internet Café and Computer Centre. Though do be aware that Internet access is charged at $0.75. Per minute, though packages can be bought to reduce this cost down to about $0.50. Per minute not cheap at all.
Being an inquisitive sort of a guy, having learned about Concierge Class, curiosity got the better of me and I just had to find out what extras, other than space, you received if you booked a Suite on a Celebrity ship, hereunder are the amenities provided for suite guests...Welcome Champagne. Butler Assistance with packing and unpacking. Platinum Cards. Personalised stationary and cards. Butler Service. Dining room seating preference. Fresh fruit each day. Fresh Flowers (1) for Penthouse suite only. Canapés at 5.00pm or 7.00pm each day - according to dining seating. Complimentary cappuccino and expresso, only inside the suite. Complimentary use of bathrobes. Celebrity Suite tote bag. Delivery of requested board games, videos, CD"s from your Butler. Full breakfast, lunch and dinner service in suite. In suite afternoon tea, coffee with cookies and cake service at 4.00pm. Newspaper delivery. Opportunity to book in suite massage for $149.00 plus 10% tip. Priority embarkation and disembarkation. Express Luggage delivery. Private Portrait sitting - not complimentary. Priority tendering tickets. Shoeshine service from your Butler. 100% cotton oversized towels.
As can be seen, there are not too many differences between Concierge Class and Suite Class, other than the size of stateroom and the price. I also understand the in-suite breakfast menu in Concierge Class has a wider choice than the breakfast menu offered to guests in suites.
One thing missing though in both Concierge and Suite Class is that guests are not provided with slippers. On other 5-star lines, even guests in the cheapest of cabins are provided with these. Also guests who I spoke with who were occupying suites which were equipped with baths, indicated that bath oils or some type of water softener to be added to the water would have been welcome.
"Captain's Club" Benefits Celebrity Cruises, like most other cruise lines offer a "loyalty club". With Celebrity it's called The Captain's Club. There are three levels - Classic (1 - 5 cruises) - Select (6 -10 cruises) and Elite (11+ cruises). Even as elite members, we were not offered all of the benefits that we were entitled to. When we enquired as to why these were not offered, we were rudely advised by the Hostess - "subject to availability". The benefits at all levels are basic compared to other programmes offered by other cruise lines. This is an area, which needs to be seriously looked at and re-evaluated. Like most other people in this age of increased competition, natural instincts direct most of us to go where we get the best value for our money and currently with Celebrity, this is one of their weakest areas of operation.
Disembarkation If people thought that embarkation arrangements were bad, disembarkation was a total fiasco. Un-organised, chaotic and lack of any officer to make decisions or to take command and control of the situation. It did not help that the ship was late arriving in Los Angeles. 1950 passengers had to pass through US Immigration - all queuing at the same time thus resulting in snake like lines all around deck 4. Then a short time after the Immigration Inspection commenced, Celebrity announced the commencement of disembarkation whilst many of the guests being called to disembark still hadn't passed through Immigration. Utter confusion reigned and not an officer in sight to take charge or make decisions. This was the worst disembarkation at any port in all of my cruising career.
Having sailed with Celebrity many times, some areas of this cruise caused disappointment but not to such an extent to ruin the overall cruise experience. Once in a while someone is disappointed and on this occasion it was us. The weaknesses identified are not typical of the usually excellent Celebrity standards and product. Knowing Celebrity management and their policies to provide excellence in all aspects of cruising for guests, appropriate action will no doubt be taken to avoid repetition.
In summary, a reasonably good cruise experience but lacking in attention to detail in some areas.
Celebrity CruisesSummit by A Summit Victim Hawaii April 9, 2006
BEWARE ! 14-DAY CRUISE TO HAWAII HAD PROBLEMS.
BIG PROBLEMS -
WAITING, PARTICULARLY IN LINE -- We used Celebrity transfers to and from the ship to the airport. The inbound transfer took FIVE AND A HALF HOURS, from the time we saw a Celebrity rep to the time we boarded the ship. Over half that time was waiting at the airport, where there are no accommodations for people whatsoever. Poorly managed lines then became the order of the day, for the remainder of the two-week cruise. It turned out that the inbound delay was related to DECONTAMINATION PROCEDURES BEING TAKEN BY THE SHIP. Those procedures prevented them from vacuuming the ship for THREE DAYS.
The waits were noted by more than the passengers. We were told by tour bus drivers that the only line that can't deliver passengers on time to tours -- thereby short-changing the tour participants -- is CELEBRITY. Multiple tours were combined by the ship into one (ostensibly, for lack of interest) but the tour we were on went out over an hour later than originally scheduled, so at the end 100to 150 people were dumped into a tender line that was already several hundred people long. The wait for tenders was thus increased, to the point where the ship departed late.
The departure for the airport was also fraught with hours of delay -- see below -- and was not infused with confidence when the bus driver asked for directions to LAX before leaving the pier. The fianl indignity was sustained when she dropped us at the airport ONE TERMINAL AWAY FROM WHERE WE AND THE OTHERS FOR OUR AIRLINE NEEDED TO BE -- a real test of stamina for the elderly and handicapped on board the bus.
FOOD, SPOILAGE OF -- The food was average in choice and quality. We were told on numerous occasions and on several days that the ship had run out of staple items -- coffee, potatoes and sour cream, plain bagels. We were served breakfast ham in our romm that had turned GRAY, midway through the cruise. ham in our room One of us picked up a small carton of milk that had spoiled, on the last day of the cruise, on the upper deck buffet. Leaving the buffet, the very next person we encountered told us that she had been made sick by the same problem, TWO DAYS BEFORE.
TOURS, VARIOUS ASPECTS OF -
Our first tender port, we has a scheduled tour. Because we had purchased an elevated level of service aboard ship, we were given Priority Boarding tickets for the tender, placed on the bed with no explanation, except to go to a specific waiting area, away from where the tours departed. We were in the waiting room FOR 20 MINUTES, when a crewwoman came over and said "if anyone has a tour, you need to go to the lounge to depart with your group." The Priority tickets were thus worthless. Worse, WE COULD HAVE MISSED THE TOUR BECAUSE WE WERE NOT IN THE CORRECT AREA. The ship corrected this blunder with a written note that accompanied tender tickets at the second tender port.
LATE ARRIVAL, AND DEBARKATION SCREW-UPS -- The ship arrived at its final destination 90 MINUTES LATE. The night before, passengers were told over the intercom to read the instrustions that would be written about the departure, the next morning. The note from the ship, however, simply said "The ship will be late. We appreciate your understanding." A free-for-all thus developed, when some people believed the ships earlier-appointed times for Customs clearance and debakation, while others believed the previous night's intercom announcement that "you can sleep in the extra hour-and-a-half." Confusing 2000 people who need to get to the airport is NOT A GOOD THING.
HIGH POINTS -
Entertainment -- Director John Howell and staff did the best job we have seen on any cruise.
Individual performances -- Wait staff at our table and stateroom personnel were conscientious and consistent, unlike the rest of the cruise.
Casual dining, deck 10 -- if you want outstanding service albeit with a limited menu, DINE HERE EVERY NIGHT. Our main dining room waiters were very good, but they serve three tables totalling 30 people. Up in Casual Dining, we had waiters lined up to drop off what we needed, or attend to what we wanted.
LITTLE PROBLEMS -
What you might consider to be "cracks around the edges," suggesting a cheapening perhaps across the entire company. Things like running out of limes for a drink, or NOT ONCE giving a small dish of snacks to people ordering drinks in the lounges, as Celebrity did on the same class of vessel less than two years ago.
SUMMARY -- We won't cruise Summit again -- EVER. And we're not likely to go back to Celebrity. We paid a LOT for the treatment described above, only to have a memorable occasion turned into a zoo.
Celebrity Cruises Summit by Dr. Paulette Romanik Hawaii January 15, 2006
Have you ever wondered who used the jacuzzi tub in your suite before you? How do they sanitize it? Well they don't know either. We booked a royal suite with a whrlpool tub on the veranda and another in the bathroom. On our first night we were filling up the inside tub and getting ready to relax. i turned it on (thank god) before getting in and it blew out brown/ black/gray foaming stuff.yuck. We called the Butler and they worked on resolving it the entire 14 days with no solution. I advise user take warning. with all the warnings to wash your hands I was shocked to see the continued problem daily for 14 days.
Celebrity Cruises Summit by Susan Hofer Hawaii January 15, 2006
This was a 14 day roundtrip from Los Angeles to Hawaii and back on Celebrity's Summit with 3 of my cousins and their husbands We had 4 sea days going and coming. Our plan was to arrive a day early just in case of inclement weather in Chicago, but all of our flights were on time. We arrived in LA to worse weather than we left behind in Chicago, a bit warmer but raining. We stayed at the Hyatt Long Beach and met my cousins there for a drink in the lobby bar once we had all arrived on our different flights. We were all very excited and talking about our upcoming cruise. We also got to see our friends, Tom & Pam who live in San Pedro, and they treated us to for a lovely dinner that night. By the time we got to bed @ 1 AM-Chicago time, we had been up for 21 hrs.
We didn't find out until after we got back that the Hyatt had wanted to bump us to another hotel because they had3 conventions and needed the rooms. Our travel agent, Donna refused to let them move us and talked to the hotel manager who finally relented and let us stay there. That explained the complimentary bottle of wine and the note in our ship cabins apologizing for the inconvenience from Hyatt. Apparently several people were moved to the other facility and they still had our names on the list.
Our cabins all had a balcony which was really cool to sit out on and enjoy the view both at sea and while in port. The first night out and the first day were quite bouncy and 2 of my cousins became ill. It turned out that Marilyn had a serious sinus infection and was treated by the ships doc. The medical facility was quite busy as 90% of the passengers were over 70. (If I thought this crowd was old, I guess the last one was even older. Even the comedian made a joke that the last group consisted of very old people and their parents.) The nurse told Marilyn that there was a lot of pneumonia on the ship. I was holding my breath anytime someone got on the elevator and started coughing.
The food was superb as always and they have expanded the options for you to stuff yourself. It was "let's belly up to the trough one more time." For breakfast, they had 4 buffet lines going and someone on each side making omelets and eggs to order. In the back by the casual dining area, there were waffles and pancakes available 8-10 am. This caused quite a backlog as there was only one waffle maker and people did not want to wait. Lunch was a specialty buffet on the port side on sea days and a station to "make your own sandwich" in the casual dining area. They actually made it for you according to your directions. They also had French fries which were quite good. The specialty buffets were ok but the only one that looked appealing was the American with fried chicken and corn on the cob. The Chinese buffet was said to be good but I never got to it. The Mexican that I did try was pretty bland for tacos, without any real taste to them.
Also on each side was a pasta station which got a good work-out. Also from Noon to 10 pm was pizza on the far starboard side. You could design you own pizza but they always had some made up to try. It was ok, but the crust was really lacking in taste. The Spa CafÃ© by the Thalassotherapy pool was very good for light choices for breakfast and lunch. As usual, the pool grill had hotdogs, hamburgers and a specialty choice of those each day. They did have the best pickles I have ever eaten. Since we were changing time going and coming people were constantly adjusting to the new time but the ship stuck to their schedule and by 11 am only one buffet line was open for breakfast and it was usually quite crowded as was the omelet station. Forget about the waffles, it closed at 10 am, damn the passengers who slept in.
Dinner was at late seating and I think this will be the last time we will do it that way. Since most of the late seating shows were at 7:00, when you were done eating it was go to the casino or to bed. No one wanted to hit the sheets with a full stomach.
I was still on Chicago time the first few days and was waking up at 5 AM ship time. I thought that I would be the only one in the gym when it opened at 6 AM, but everyone else was up too. We were religious about working out every day in the well-equipped gym and finally found that going at 9-9:30 AM was the best time to get a machine. The day we pulled into Hilo (which was our first stop) we could see whales surfacing in front of us as we walked on the treadmills. The gym is at the top of the ship in the front so you have the Captain's-eye view as you pull into port.
In Hilo we did the Circle of Fire and Waterfalls Helicopter tour so we saw the active volcanoes and the lava pouring into the ocean. Very cool. We have the video so we can bore all of our friends. They make you get on a scale at the dock so as to balance the load in the aircraft and then the bus took us to the airport. If you can stand the humiliation, it is a great tour. If you are thin, no problem. We also bought an orchid lei at the airport which was only $6. I did wear it for at least 4 days. I never thought to stick it in the fridge in the room to keep it fresh.
On our last trip to Hawaii, we boarded in Honolulu and everyone received an orchid lei. This didn't happen on this trip. Maybe it was because that trip in 2002 was Celebrity's first trip to Hawaii.
We had already seen Pearl Harbor the last time so we tried to go to see the Polynesian Cultural Center but we were too late for a tour and the rental cars were all taken. Here you should probably take the ships tour. We really had no idea how far away this attraction was. The taxi driver quoted us $120 one way! So I ended up shopping and walking around Honolulu for part of the day. You can't believe how you are sweating and how hot you feel and it probably was only 82 degrees. The historical section is walking distance from the pier and so is Chinatown. Considering we were there from 7 am to 11 pm, we should have seen a lot more.
The cousins did go see Pearl Harbor, the Missouri battleship and the Bowfin submarine. They left the ship about 7:45 and didn't get back until almost 4:00. So no matter what you do, it is time consuming and you will not see everything you want to see.
There isn't too much to see in Kauai but the beach is walking distance from the pier and the waves were great. There are only ships tours here to be had. I wish we had done the helicopter tour here or gone to see Waimea Canyon. I guess we will have to put that down for a future cruise.
We tendered ashore at Kona and did the requisite shopping at Hilo Hattie's. Karl bought me a beautiful black Tahitian pearl slide to go on my omega chain. What a nice surprise! I was not expecting anything at all. The cousins hit Hilo Hattie's at every stop. They did have the best prices on Aloha wear and other souvenirs.
Maui was our last stop and I went whale watching with Captain Steve's tours. I was too late to get on the ship's excursion but I remembered reading about this excursion so I called from Honolulu on my cell phone and got directions to Mala wharf. Good thing I took a cab there as I would never have found it by myself. That cab ride for a 5 minute trip cost me over $7 but it was worth it as there was no signs indicating where you were or that Captain Steve came there. Our vehicle was a zodiac boat that seated 24 and all the other passengers were from resorts. I was the only one off the ship. We saw lots of whales and they came quite close to the boat. I think we saw more whales than the people who took the Pacific Whale Foundation tour from the ship. This boat was more maneuverable and able to go to the whales' location easier. They really want you to see a lot and tell others.
The entertainment was certainly the best I have ever seen on a cruise. Its seems that they pull out the stops on the longer cruises. There were three big production shows with very talented singers and dancers. The featured acts were all great, especially Pearl Kaufman, a pianist, Taste of Cirque du Soleil, Jeri Sager, singer, & Jeff Nease, comedian. The one thing they could have done was bring back the entertainers for an afternoon show. On the sea days that would have been very well attended. I think they might have had an afternoon show by the dulcimer player, Ping Xu, but we would have skipped that one. We saw him on our Alaska cruise and he played the same songs he played 3 yrs ago! The Celebrity Orchestra was outstanding. What a bunch of very talented guys.
The casino was pretty well attended also and I can't complain since I won $1300 playing 3-card Poker over the 14 days. My cousin won about $800 on different slot machines and we all won playing Bingo with prizes from $90-140. I won $100 early in the cruise and Karl won $140 the last morning. That put us even on Bingo until that evening when I won the big prize of $3400 which I had to share with another lady. That was just the frosting on the cake! All of my cousins were my cheering section. (I was wondering who was cheering and applauding since everyone around me looked very unhappy.) The family joke was that Karl had to book me on the next cruise so I wouldn't have to get off the boat and break my winning streak.
Disembarkation was a problem in that the ship was late getting to Los Angeles and as a result, the Vision of the Seas had our dock spot so the port had to makeshift something so we could exit the ship. Since we had to go thru customs (that "stop" in Ensanada) before leaving, we lost our opportunity for breakfast. Our color was Beige-1 and we were second off the ship due to our plane leaving at 12:15. Some people were really enraged that they just couldn't grab their luggage and go. As it happened we boarded the bus for the airport and sat for 20-30 minutes while he filled it up. By the time we signed in, got our boarding passes, went through Security and found our gate (the last one of course), we barely had time to grab a Burger King and board the plane.
But all in all, this was a really great cruise and that one little "glitch" at the end certainly didn't ruin it for us. It looks like Celebrity has a winner with these round trips that spare you the long flight from your home city to Honolulu. Getting home was easy since we are all in Chicago and didn't have to change planes to continue our trip. Picked up all the luggage, called the limo and we were home and back to reality after 2 weeks of luxury.
Celebrity Cruises Summit by Betsy Bart Mexico October 10, 2005 It has been a while since I sailed on Celebrity and I may never do it again! We had a lovely Concierge Class stateroom. The balcony was small but nice. Loved our daily breakfasts served by our great room steward. Our diningroom waiter and asst. waiter were wonderful too . As for the rest of the staff, they were just the pits! This was an employees country club atmosphere. This group was on board not for the passengers. They looked right past you at the buffets and were so not helpful. Many oogled the women and laughed at the passengers, speaking in their own languages.It was obvious they did not like people. However, the day before tip day, the staff was smiling, pleasant and just the way they should have been the whole trip but weren't! They were capable of pleasant service ,if they had wanted to give it, they just didn't want to! It was all about the money for this crew and not about the passengers.
I have never been treated so distastefully anywhere, on any cruise and Icruise 4 or more times a year. This staff left a very bad impression. As I said, they loved the money , not the people. Celebrity needs to better train and supervise their staff. Heck with Celebrity. They have lovely ships and the ,one on one staff, is great. The rest of the ship staff made for very unpleasant cruising. Shame on you Celebrity.
About Us My husband and I are both 32 with no children. We have cruised 5 times before (on Carnival, Royal Caribbean and now Celebrity). This was our first Celebrity cruise. We lived in Maryland for 10 years before moving to the West coast a few years ago. We currently reside in Las Vegas, Nevada where I am a web site designer and he is an attorney.
Type of Room Booked: Concierge Class stateroom, Cabin 8143. Cruise: 10 Day Mexican Riviera, round-trip from Los Angeles. September 29 - October 10, 2005.
Ports of Call / Shore Excursions I am not reviewing the ports of call since the Summit sails all over the world and has such a varied itinerary. We have never booked a shore excursion on a cruise and prefer to "do our own thing " while on vacation.
Embarkation Out of all the cruises I've been on, embarkation was the absolute smoothest. We arrived at the pier a little after 12:30 in the afternoon and we were standing on our stateroom balcony within 20 minutes. Since we were booked in Concierge Class, we had a special line and the servicewas very fast. After a quick scan of our carry on baggage and a check of our passports and ids we were stopped for the standard embarkation photograph and headed on board.
Once on board, Celebrity's reputation for the highest levels of elegant service began! We were greeted by a white-gloved, tuxedoed employee (the first of many on this voyage). He handed us each a glass of champagne and escorted us to our stateroom. while a talented harpist played quietly in the atrium.
Our stateroom was ready with the door open. Inside we found fresh flowers, a bowl of fresh fruit, chilled ice and water, and a bottle of champagne on ice.
Let me say that the charge for Concierge Class was absolutely, 100% worth it! We received special service in all areas on this cruise. We had priority use of the Concierge desk (though we only used this once, it was still great to know it was there). We had complimentary use of a pair of binoculars that came in handy from our balcony stateroom.
Fresh flowers in a modern flexible vase adorned the desk area and on formal nights, a single long-stemmed rose appeared in a stainless steel vase in the bathroom. Each day a large bowl of fresh fruit was delivered to our room as well as evening canapés (an assortment of 6 small toast rounds topped with a variety of goodies, from shrimp to caviar to proscuitto and melon).Every day we had a fresh bucket of ice and a carafe filled with chilled water. The fluffy robes were nice as well, as was the super soft, high thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, fluffy duvet, and the menu of pillows (we chose an extra foam and a down pillow). The high power massaging showerhead was a pleasure to use too. The use of a large golf umbrella came in handy as well when the rain started pouring down in port! A decent Celebrity tote bag came in handy too and on the last night before the cruise ended, a very nice nylon collapsible bag and small overnight makeup bag were delivered to our stateroom for our overnight items.
Our luggage was also delivered to us within one hour of sailing. Most people didn't get their luggage until much later.
The one thing that absolutely made CC worth the price was the priority tender service. This saved us so much time in port! Every morning when tender service was required, two VIP vouchers were delivered to our stateroom. These were like magic tickets! You flashed them and you were put on the first available tender immediately. One morning, they even held a tender until we arrived! I was shocked! The early embarkation and debarkation was great too, though debarking was a nightmare as you'll read below.
Everything Celebrity promises to CC guests in their promotional literature was delivered, though the only disappointment was the "personalized stationery. " It was more like paper with a laser printout of your name and cabin number, though it, too, did come in handy!
We were impressed with the layout of our stateroom. The design gave it a true sense of spaciousness and we never lacked for storage space or room to move around. The balcony was large with a nice big table and a small side cocktail table. The chairs had nice, thick blue cushions on them. I also loved how the balcony had clear glass on the bottom so you had an unobstructed view of the ocean.
We found that the balconies weren't as private as on other ships. You could easily see the folks on each side of you, below you and above you. there are also "portholes " on the floor in the Waterfall Cafe upstairs, so if someone decided to get on the hands and knees and look down the hole, they could see right on your balcony and with the position of the mirrors, right into your stateroom. So make sure you keep your curtains closed when you aren't dressed!
The bed was very comfortable and the upgraded luxury bedding was great. Soft sheets and fluffy pillows made it feel like a true floating resort. The fluffy towels were nice as well, and we also had a soft cotton bath rug in the bathroom. We found the bathroom to be not in the best of shape, but it was nothing to seriously complain about -- just a cracked tile here and there. The shower had a curtain and it would have been nicer if it was an actual door, but the shower was large and could accommodate 2 people!
Our bathroom had a large container of cotton balls and swabs, mints, a sewing kit, shower cap and an array of small bottles of shampoo, lotion and more. There were also shampoo and lotion dispensers on the wall.BACK TO TOP
Our attendant was the best we have ever had on any cruise anywhere, period. Jose was like a ghost -- we hardly ever saw him, but no matter when we left, we came back and our room was spotless. After the first day, he easily adapted to our lazy schedule with no problem. On the first day at sea, we wanted some extra ice and water. After that, he brought extra ice and water every day. We never, ever had to ask for anything else again! It was weird -- it was almost like he could "sense " what you needed and when you needed it. before you even knew you needed it yourself! I am not kidding. We'd come back from the pool deck and he would have even folded our dirty clothes and placed them in a neat pile! When you order room service, 9 times out of 10 your stateroom attendant will deliver your food. He would never take individual tips for that (we usually give $5 cash each time someone brings our food) so we more than made up for it in a large extra tip at the end of the cruise.
There's been a lot of speculation on many travel boards about the dress code on board Celebrity.
Let me start by saying that probably 99.9% of cruisers on our voyage respected and honored the dress code each evening. On formal nights there were more tuxedos than suits and more gowns than cocktail dresses, at least on the first formal night. It was fun to dress up for dinner and everyone looked so nice in their gowns and tuxedos. If you do not own a tuxedo, I highly recommend that all gentlemen rent one.
The one thing I hated about the dress code is that it applied to all public areas on the ship after 6 p.m. We found it pretty unpleasant to be sitting in a bar at midnight in a stifling tuxedo and itchy beaded dress. But we, like most others on board, happily complied with the dress code.
ach night at the dining room, the Maitre'D would greet everyone entering but I never saw him turn anyone away. I also never saw anyone turned away at the shows either, however, most people respected the dress code.
Another thing to note: no jeans are allowed in the Cosmopolitan dining room at any time -- not for breakfast, lunch or for dinner. You can wear shorts to breakfast and lunch, but NO JEANS, EVER. Casual is the order of the day at all other times.
I'm not a cruise snob -- I say let people wear whatever they want since they are on vacation. But at the same time, I believe in respecting cruising traditions when appropriate, and it wasn't hard for us to pack our tuxedo, suits, cocktail dresses and gown. And it's not hard for you, either!
Common Areas / Public Rooms
This ship is loaded with privately commissioned modern artwork and it is gorgeous. From sculptures to paintings to photographs, the ship is a floating modern art gallery! Even the hallways to the cabins (and our stateroom) had original photographs / artwork on the walls.
Fresh flowers abound on this ship too. Our stateroom had long stemmed roses and fresh flowers, and the public bathrooms on each deck always had fresh flowers in them!
The most inspired area on the ship was the Bar at the Edge of the Earth. Unfortunately, it was woefully underutilized except for the $40 bingo games. The bar was co-created by Cirque du Solei and is the funkiest place you'll ever see. Be sure to check out the oversized cabanas at the back of the club -- snag one of those and you can lie down and look out the front of the ship. A perfect activity just before the sun sets.
The other bars were decent. Celebrity hypes the Summit as having a Martini Bar and Champagne Bar, but it's actually the same bar and isn't that great. We were disappointed in this.
The pool deck was great with plenty of lounge chairs and two large pools and spas. The Thalassotherapy pool had a very nice area as well. Use of this pool was free.
The shopping boulevard was adequate with the requisite onboard liquor shop (if you buy the liquor, they hold it until the last night of your cruise -- though we had no trouble brining liquor onboard after a day in port), several jewelry and watch shops, a couple of clothing and chotchkie shops, and a super Bijou Turner store where everything is $10.
My favorite part of the ship were the glass elevators. This is something I've never seen on a cruise ship. It was so fun to be able to ride up and down while you were looking out at the sea. The showroom was one of the nicest I have ever seen at sea.
The ship itself was spotlessly clean and Celebrity seemed to be very concerned with keeping it that way. Automatic hand sanitizers were placed around the ship near dining areas and on the gangway. The Waterfall Cafe was a nice eating area. Make sure you sneak a peek at the portholes that are on the floor in parts of the Cafe -- you can stand on them and look straight down at the ocean! Our stateroom was in very good condition (just a couple of cracked tiles in the shower).
I have to say that we also found the ship to be extremely warm -- they seemed to have a problem keeping the public areas well cooled, especially the Waterfall Cafe, the dining room and the bars. We were fine in our stateroom and the air conditioner worked great. Just something to note.
All in all, the decor was very understated and muted and was not gaudy or tacky in any respect. Anyone who loves the glitz and glamour will be disappointed in this ship. Anyone looking for 5 star hotel decor will love it!
Maybe this is because I am young, but I am not exaggerating when I say there was absolutely nothing to do on this cruise! My husband loved it and loved just relaxing. I got a bit antsy on the third day at sea. While we knew this ship attracted an older crowd, I really wasn't prepared at the lack of activities. I didn't want Carnival (too rowdy for us), but I didn't want a floating retirement village either. THAT WAS NOT MEANT TO BE DEROGATORY -- I love older folks and we met some super elderly friends during the voyage. I just want to make sure other young couples are prepared for this before they book a Celebrity cruise.
We would 100% book another Celebrity cruise when we want to relax and do nothing, which was one of our main goals on this trip.
Let me give you an example of activities offered during one of the days at sea (this is typed directly off my Celebrity Daily paper): Catholic Mass, Walk-A-Thon, Catholic Mass, Veterans' Get Together, Shuffleboard, Men's Doubles Ping Pong, Computer Classes, Informal Bridge Play, Scrabble, Chess, Backgammon, Paddle Tennis Court, Movie Time (theater showed new- to- video films), Afternoon Bridge Play, Silk Flower Arrangement Workshop, Arts and Crafts (I'm not making this up), Sunset Cocktail Hour, Bingo (at a whopping $30 per person to play), Vineyard at Sea Wine Auction, Art Auction, and Volleyball.
On some days there were line dancing classes and there were 2 events on the pool deck at night -- a " Melons on Parade " fruit buffet with Caribbean line dancing and a country themed night with -- you guessed it -- line dancing! I thought the activities on this ship were severely lacking in both creativity and general appeal.
We weren't the only ones who felt this way either. The one night they had karaoke for just one hour, it was standing room only. A few fun nighttime activities were a masquerade ball and a 50s sock hop (though few people participated). The casino was adequate and the dealers were friendly.
I won't mince words: the entertainment on this ship was absolutely abysmal. We were shocked at how truly terrible Celebrity's entertainment program was onboard the Summit! I do not feel we are being overly harsh. Let me explain why I would rate their entertainment an "F. "
1. Lack of live music. There was hardly any live music onboard this ship and the music that was live was just atrocious. With the exception of the Martini Quartet, a lovely string quartet that played classical instruments in the Cova Cafe, the entertainers were not that talented. Most of the entertainers were the kind you just feel so sorry and embarrassed for. The "party band " Headlines was so awful they routinely "forgot " the words to the songs they were singing. Maybe this wasn't such a bad thing since they couldn't carry a tune. The singers at the karaoke show were much better. Michael's Club featured Betsy Bogart, a cabaret singer and piano player who specialized in easy listening favorites (think James Taylor, Carole King, Carly Simon). Betsy was great the first few nights, but her repertoire was so limited that after hearing "Both Sides Now " and "How Sweet it Is " no fewer than 3 times per night each show, it got old very fast. Paul Strowe was an average guitarist who played Jimmy Buffet songs by the pool, though he sounded like your father in law singing along with the radio. The Savoy Duo was by far the worst. This band sounded like a bad 70s synthesizer organ. Just awful! In most other bars and lounges, prerecorded music was the order of the day. We didn't expect rock and roll, but we expected better than this.
2. Production Shows. The production shows were horrible too. They were just so terribly outdated! In ExtravaDanza, the singing and dancing was pretty good, but halfway through the show, the California Raisins came out and started singing "I Heard it Through the Grapevine. "! Yes, the CALIFORNIA RAISINS! They were popular 20 years ago! I wish I could say that is as low as the entertainment sunk, but I'm afraid it gets much, much worse. The next night we were treated to the "artistry " of a Xylosynth. Yes, a man playing a synthesized xylophone. Shall I continue, or are your sides busting from laughing? You would be laughing, since you didn't sit through the actual performances! The comedian Rich Pupura was funny and not the worst I have ever seen. The one bright star was Atonio Salci, a pianist who was the first honest-to-goodness talent on the ship. His music wasn't the best but he was a very good entertainer.
3. See the Activities review above.
All in all, it was hard to get a good, satisfying meal on this ship and it is darn near impossible to get something to eat after midnight.
The Waterfall Cafe did not have good food. Each day they would serve a run of the mill breakfast and lunch buffet. The lunch buffet would have a different theme each day, like Mexican or Asian, but it was never anything special. The buffet was closed for dinner and became the casual dining restaurant with table service and a menu. You had to make reservations for this service if you chose not to eat in the main Cosmopolitan dining room. We did not try this alternative casual dining as we were so happy with the service in the main dining room, though the menus for the casual dining restaurant looked very good (and served less gourmet and more "picky eater " foods such as shrimp cocktail, roast beef and pastas). The Waterfall cafe did have delicious homemade sorbet and ice cream in a variety of exotic flavors, but it was very melty all the time and hard to eat. It also had a made to order pasta station and pizza station, but I found the pizza to be very plain (Carnival's pizza is much better -- yes, that is a fact) except for the individual make your own pizzas (you get a choice of gourmet toppings like blue cheese and sun dried tomatoes) and the pasta bar was disgusting and made the whole grill smell like rotten garlic (my stomach is turning now just thinking about it). One some days the grill would run a deli sandwich stand but I found the sandwiches weren't tasty either! A huge disappointment. In the evenings for a short period of time, a sushi bar was open.
The Poolside Grill did not have good food but each day they had a special menu item (chili cheese hot dogs, fish sandwiches, chicken parmesan sandwiches) and great french fries. The burgers and hot dogs are what you would expect on a large cruise ship; edible but not gourmet.
The main dining room had very good food. If you are a picky eater, or even remotely adverse to trying new things, you will have trouble eating in the dining room. The menu choices were not too varied and were often "strange " to most folks. If you love duck, frog legs, rack of lamb and the like, you will love the dining room. Every poultry dish I had on board this ship was excellent. I only ate seafood twice and it was good too, as well as the pasta dishes in the dining room. The beef dishes were quite good and the steaks were incredible. The fish selections are unusual -- not your usual mahi mahi or salmon or flounder. The soups were unusual too but very good. There was also a chilled soup selection each night, the most inspired being the "chilled cherry " soup. Duck was on the menu every night. My personal memorable meals on this voyage were a seafood kabob (with fish, scallops and shrimp) served with fragrant basmati rice and a fork-tender filet mignon. My husband loved the escargot, specialty salads and prime rib. The best foods on board were the homemade salad dressings and the pastries. I cannot rave enough about how great they were! Be sure to try every dressing that is offered -- you will not be disappointed (are there any other diehard Celebrity dressing / Goombay dressing fans out there)? And yes, on the final formal night, lobster tails are served. And they are huge!
Room Service had an inspired menu but uninspired food. The vegetable lasagna sounded good but was just a bowl with mushrooms, peppers and onions with one lasagna noodle spread across the top and cheese melted on top. The chicken noodle soup was awful -- more like a Japanese soup with clear broth and a small amount of thin noodles. The sandwiches were mediocre. As a Concierge Class guest, we had a special expanded breakfast menu that was absolutely fabulous! We ordered full breakfasts in our stateroom. The menu was varied and the food was good. My favorite was the yogurt and granola parfait, a large goblet layered with vanilla yogurt, homemade granola, blueberries and strawberries. I ate about 7 of those during the cruise! And it should be noted that each night's dinner in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant can be ordered and delivered to your stateroom. Just ask your stateroom attendant for the evening's menu and he will bring it in and set it up for you.
My favorite part of the cruise was the nightly serving of Gourmet Bites. From 11:30 pm until after midnight, white gloved employees wander the common areas with trays of tasty hoursd'ouerves. They circle first with a tray of cold items, then hot items, then desserts. This was one of my favorite parts of the entire cruise. Miniature beef wellington, fish, caviar, croissants, mini pastries, tempura shrimp, miniature pizzas...everything you could imagine. There was a different selection each night and they were not served on themed buffet nights.
I know food reviews are extremely subjective, but I have tried to be as honest and descriptive as possible.
The service on this ship was impeccable. I have never been treated so "famously " as I was on this cruise. Celebrity gets the service aspect of their cruises 100% right on the nose. From the housekeeping staff to the bar staff to security and casino dealers, the service was incredible. The service even extended to days in port -- as we disembarked in Acapulco, there was a rainstorm. Celebrity employees held your umbrellas as you walked off the ship so you could hand over your keycards without getting soaked. In the steamy Puerto Vallarta, a valet was present with ice cold towels to help cool you down while you waited for the ship's tenders. (The towels made appearances in each port and in Zihuatanejo where the tender line was quite long, a server carried around a silver tray of ice cold water and juices).
I felt like everyone on board truly enjoyed their jobs, from the clerks in the shops to the auctioneers to the room stewards and waiters. This is the first time on any cruise that we have tipped well above and beyond the recommended standard. We even gave the dining room maitre'd extra cash -- he was at our table promptly every dinner to chat and see how our meals were.
The bar waitress promptly brought our glasses of Coke each night in the dining room. The first night I commented how much I loved the lemon that adorned the glass and each night our Coke glasses became more fanciful (with miniature umbrellas, lime swirls, triple cherries, etc.). A bunch of fun. Our waiters, Lloyd and Glen, were fabulous as well. After our first meal they learned our eating patterns to a "t. " They knew what we would order. Amazing. We tipped them 100% more than was suggested, as I'm sure most guests onboard did. The service was that incredible.
When I wasn't feeling well one night and missed dinner, our head waiter called our stateroom to make sure we were okay. When I told him I wasn't feeling well, he showed up with a glass of ginger ale! The next morning when I was walking around the ship, I had no less than 4 employees come up to me to ask how I was feeling BY NAME (the cabin steward, our assistant waiter, and two of the bar waitresses). It was like I was a part of the family.
If you want to be pampered in every way imaginable and be called by name as soon as your second day at sea, then book a Celebrity Cruise and you won't be disappointed. I have so many super service stories to tell that I could fill 30 pages.
This was, I'm sorry to report, a complete disaster. I'm sure there will be many posts about this particular cruise and the disembarkation mess. I don't blame the cruise line -- the hold up was obviously with U.S. Customs. They had to clear everyone on board the ship. Once you cleared customs, you were given a pass and were able to disembark as soon as your color was called. As a Concierge Class passenger, we were the 5th color called off the ship (great since we were just driving from L.A. back home to Las Vegas). We were off board by 10:30 a.m.
This is our second year in a row on the Summit and this particular itinerary. My parents who are in their mid-eighties went with us. We love this itinerary:14 nights - San Diego, Catalina, San Francisco, Seattle, Victoria, Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, Ketchikan, Inside Passage and Vancouver. It's the Summit's repo cruise from the Caribbean.
We boarded the Summit in San Diego at 11:15 AM May 6th....embarkation was very smooth, took maybe 10 minutes. The staff handed out Champagne and Mimosas upon boarding. We took our own tour of the ship as we couldn't get into our staterooms until about 1 PM. Went to the Waterfall Grill Bar which is Deck 10 aft since it has a nice deck to view the city of San Diego. At noon the buffet lunch was offered and of course we took advantage. Food was good as usual, with a very nice assortment of fruit and desserts too. The ship is still very clean, but could use new furniture in some of the public rooms. We went to see what they did to Revelations....you probably have already read my post on that, soI won't go into it too much. Just know that they have ruined the best room on the ship in our opinion. We got into our staterooms after lunch. We had Concierge Class staterooms, my parents were on Deck 8 mid ship and we were on Deck 7 aft. Our (overweight) luggage was there waiting for us, as well as fresh flowers, champagne, fruit basket and extra thick robes. The veranda had a large table and cushioned chairs as promised...we really liked that part as we enjoy breakfast out there. After we unpacked we went up to the Spa so I could book a "Couples Massage" for my husband and me, and hair styling for me and my Mom for our (3) formal nights. Hair styles are reasonably priced starting at $33.00 and there are specials on massages throughout the cruise. The indoor T-Pool is wonderful and set aside for adults 18 and over.
Food: Cosmopolitan is very good to excellent except for the Prime Rib which was tough,even for those that ordered it rare. Every night you could order a steak, salmon or chicken, baked potato and shrimp cocktail if you didn't like what was on the menu. Steaks were always good as well as every fish and chicken dishes we ordered. Desserts were great. Buffet lunch was good, breakfast average. Potatoes were usually cold and bacon too limp.Waffle and Omelet bar very good. Ice cream bar, the ice cream was soupy. Grill was one of our favorites. Excellent hamburgers and fries. Spa Cafe was wonderful, with great soup and salads. Also delicious desserts. We did not partake of the Casual dining option or the Specialty Restaurant so cannot comment on them. Cova Cafe had wonderful specialty coffees and espresso, hot chocolate as well as free bakery goodies.
Public Rooms/Lounges: All still very nice except for some of the chairs are getting threadbare that should be replaced. Staff is very attentive but not pushing drinks (they only ask you once). Revelations has been ruined due to Cirque du Soleil. Views have been lost and the room is dark and depressing. Originally they planned to keep it closed during the day...probably should have as it is dysfunctional now for viewing glaciers and Alaskan scenery. The forward outside Deck 11 allows you to take the stairs for the panoramic views that we once had indoors. Must be warmly dressed out there for this itinerary. But a great place to be when entering ports. Got some of our best pics there. Deck 10 Aft at the Waterfall Bar is the place to be for leaving port...lots of large tables.
Staterooms are very comfortable, but then I can only comment on ours. Concierge Class is 191 sq. ft. with plenty of storage and a good sized bathroom. Shower is roomy and has an upgraded shower head. I take a shoe bag on cruises to hang inside the bathroom door...gives us all that extra shelf space. There are two hair dryers, one is mounted and the other is an upgrade that is stored under the sink. Thick towels that are changed out twice a day, or whenever needed.Bed is excellent with lots of pillows..we requested down pillows. Slept like babies even during rough seas. There's plenty of room under the bed for luggage storage and very roomy closet, drawer space and a safe to store your valuables. The veranda is roomy and comfortable even with the four of us hanging out watching the sunsets and beautiful scenery.
Service is where I think Celebrity is the cut above most other cruise lines. Our cabin attendant and his assistant were always on the ball...room kept immaculate. Room service was always prompt with a phone call letting you know that breakfast was on it's way. We had lots of breakfasts on our veranda. Table would be set with linens and flowers for each meal we had there. Also got a fresh flower in our bathroom everyday. These little touches make the cruise that much more special. We also had ca napes' delivered to our room before dinner each evening. Service in the Cosmopolitan was also outstanding. Wait staff and Maitre 'de were the best you could ask for. Can't think of much that they could improve on.
Shore Excursions: We purchased four excursions through Celebrity. Victoria Craigdarroch Castle and Empress Hotel High Tea, Juneau Whale Watching and Orcas Point Lodge, Misty Fjords Cruise and Flight, and because we had a later flight out of Vancouver we booked the Vancouver Highlights tour. The Victoria tour was a mistake, very expensive at $90.00 pp and something we could have done on our own at 1/3 the price. Better off taking a cab to downtown for $6.00 for all four of us and then just walk around...it's a gorgeous little town. The Empress Hotel is right there and you can have the high tea on your own. Juneau tour was nice, saw Humpback whales, otters and lots of beautiful scenery on our way to Orca Point Lodge. We were served a very nice meal that included coleslaw, corn-on-the-cob, rice pilaf, and really, really good barbequed wild salmon. They have a wonderful homemade grilling sauce that is delicious. Also topped it off with yummy carrot cake. The boat they take you out in is warm smooth and comfortable with lots of large windows and two heads (bathrooms). The Misty Fjords National Monument is one of our favorites although pretty pricey, to us well worth it. This year we did the reverse itinerary, we took the 3 hour boat tour (which seems to go really fast) into the Fjords and flew back to Ketchikan on the floatplane. We encountered the most Humpbacks and Orcas we have ever seen, plus lots of otters, Bald Eagles and a huge cinnamon-colored brown bear (grizzly) feeding at the base of one of the many streams that fall into the Fjords. I actually was the one that spotted the bear first. I had seen one last year on this same tour, but the crew couldn't believe we were so lucky to see this much wildlife so early in the year. The boat is very comfortable with lots of windows on two decks, they serve clam chowder, salmon salad, chips and dips, crackers, cheeses and cookies with plenty of sodas, coffee and hot chocolate. It is a spectacular trip that I recommend for everyone. Your fear of small planes goes away when you're viewing the spectacular 3000' waterfalls and the Fjords. It's lovely. Our Vancouver tour was messed up to our getting through customs too late..that was the worst part of the 14 night cruise.
Debarkation Not sure what went wrong this year. Reason could be because of the fact there were three large ships arriving all at the same exact time (7:00 AM). It was the worst we have encountered, even worse than in Barcelona trying to catch a cab. Took over an hour to get through customs, then had to stand in line another hour for our 9:30 AM tour bus that we finally boarded at 11:45. We should have been first off to catch our tour, but it didn't happen. Lots of rude people shoving themselves up into front of line, it was not good. I thought they were going to stampede over my elderly parents a couple of times. Anyway the tour bus ended up taking us straight to airport because they had afternoon tours to do. We got to the airport at 12:15 for our 5 PM flight that ran late. Flew to Seattle for a 2 hour layover, then got in to San Diego at almost 11:30 PM. LONG day. These flights were arranged by Celebrity...we saved about $200.00 per couple..think we'll do our own next time.
One other item that I did not mention. We rented a car for $85.00 from Avis in Skagway since we had all done the Whitepass Railway tour. We drove north across the border to the Yukon, Carcross and Emerald Lake. It was fantastic. Scenery was outstanding and so was the weather. We drove along side of the railway until we reached White Pass, then drove along beautiful lakes and mountains into the north. We stopped so much for pictures that it took awhile to get there. I think it is about 80 miles one way. We did meet a Gray Wolf which we got a good photo of, on the way back saw him again...a Royal Canadian Mountain Policeman was trying to coax him off the road. We think somebody has been feeding that wolf----very bad idea.