We departed DFW and arrived in Vancouver at noon. Since there were 4 of us with 14 pieces of luggage our best bet to get downtown was with LimoJet Gold Limos services. At first, our driver said that there was no way he could take all of our luggage, but after a little cajoling, he packed the trunk and kept the lid down with a bungee cord and we were off.
We checked into the Hyatt Regency downtown ($75.00 via Priceline) and got two beautiful rooms. One had a balcony and was on the corner overlooking the mountains. What a great start! We explored downtown a little and of course had to go down to Canada Place where our ship was to dock and check things out. It’s a short walk down to Canada Place and although we didn’t see any cruise ships in port at that point, we knew that the Summit would be there in the morning and couldn’t wait. We made it a short night.
Day 2 – Embarkation
We arose early and had breakfast in the hotel (very pricey). But soon we were on our way to Canada Place and our long awaited cruise! We had the bellman call for a van taxi and the four of us and all of our luggage went the half mile to Canada Place and started the embarkation process. It was 11:00 a.m. and we didn’t know for sure if we could board but followed the signs and were soon through customs and filling out the paperwork to get our Sea Pass cards and get aboard ship. After a quick embarkation photo (still inside Canada Place underneath a few props), we headed to the gangway and were aboard ship!
I was speechless! What a beautiful ship the Summit is! I simply couldn’t contain myself. We were greeted at the entrance with smiles and champagne and told that our rooms wouldn’t be ready until around 1:00 pm. But we could head to the buffet on deck 10. I knew that we could probably drop off our bags in our rooms, so we headed up the elevators to Deck 8 and found our rooms with no problems. Our rooms were ready (8112, and 8130). We were on the starboard side of the ship and were in Concierge Class, so I checked out all of the amenities as soon as we were in our rooms. Our lovely Cabin Steward (Anabel) greeted us and I asked for additional pillows. I also asked her to empty out the mini-fridge as we would not be consuming the contents. And told her that we had a small collapsible cooler that we wanted stocked with ice each day. I gave her a tip and told her that she would be getting more at the end of the cruise.
Our rooms were gorgeous! They were clean, bright and didn’t show any wear to speak of. There was a fruit bowl and bottle of champagne in the room. And fresh flowers in the room and the bathroom. I was simply overwhelmed. I had been planning this trip for over 6 months and we were finally aboard!
A quick step onto the balcony which overlooked the dock and I knew we were in for a vacation like no other. But on to the important stuff.
We went down to the Cosmopolitan restaurant to check our table assignments. The doors to the restaurant were closed, but we quickly found the maitre’d in the Rendezvous lounge right across from the restaurant and asked about our table assignments. We were right next to the captain’s table against the windows! How did we rate this? What a wonderful table! Things were going well so far. Now to get some food! And on to the Aqua Spa!
As we found our way around ship, we were simply amazed at the beauty of this ship. The gleaming banisters and the bright airy feel. If this is what cruising is all about, I had truly spent too much time wishing about it. I should have done this years ago. We went up to deck 10 and walked into the buffet. There were hand sanitizers right outside the doors and as we walked around the buffet, we knew we could never try all of the foods. I opted for the pasta station. My husband went the standard buffet route. We found a table next to the windows and remarked at how wonderful the food was.
After a quick bite, we went exploring. The Aqua Spa is located on the same deck so we opted to visit and tour the spa. After the tour, I booked a facial, massage and the week long pass to the Persian Garden for two. Although the prices were a bit higher than what I am accustomed to, I went ahead with the massage and facial. After all, this was my vacation! We didn’t end up using the Persian Gardens steam rooms except once, so I wouldn’t make that purchase again.
Down to deck 5 and the Emporium. The shops were closed, but I knew I’d be back. We took a look at the art work on display and weren’t too interested. We went through the Cova Café and walked past the area where you could play cards or board games. We saw several board games lying out. We visited the Martini Bar and Champagne Bar and knew we’d be back.
On down to Deck 4 and the casino and theatre. The casino had lots of slot machines as well as the standard poker, blackjack, craps and roulette tables. We vowed to donate $20.00 each a night to the casino.
Now back to the rooms and our luggage was already there! It was only 3:00 pm. And we began to unpack. At first, we weren’t sure that there was enough storage in the room. But we were proved wrong. We unpacked all of our bags and then stored them one inside the other and placed them under the bed. We did use every inch of storage. But there was plenty of room. I had brought a shoe hanging bag for the back of the bathroom door. That was one of the smartest ideas I got from this board. The storage in the bathroom isn’t much, but the additional storage in the hanging bag was plenty.
The standard muster drill was scheduled for 5:00 pm. There was an announcement over the loud speaker before the drill and when the bells sounded we donned our life vests and headed for the muster station. In our case, we were sent to the Casino. It had begun to rain a little and we were certainly pleased that the outside demonstration didn’t last too long. But it was back to our rooms and our vantage point for the sail away. Our eveing canapés arrived and we were underwhelmed. Perhaps we are just boring people, but we asked for simply some varied berries and fruits the rest of the cruise.
We had chosen to go to the forward sunbathing deck to view the sail away. One note: the ship’s horn is right above the forward sunbathing deck. Be aware! As it was still misting a little, we stayed on deck only a short while. We were scheduled to depart at 5:45 and at exactly that time, the ship’s horn sounded and we started maneuvering away from the dock and started our voyage up the inside passage. We went back to our rooms and stood on the balcony and waived to all the poor souls left behind.
We had selected the early seating and knew that dinner time was fast approaching, so after a while on the balcony going under the Verrazano Bridge, we headed downstairs to the Cosmopolitan restaurant for our first of many delightful dining experiences. It was 6:30 by the time that we made it to the restaurant. I had though that dinner was at 6:15 and knew we had 15 minutes before the doors closed, but I was mistaken. Dinner was at 6:00 pm. luckily, the restaurant expects you to be a little confused on the first night. As we made our way to our table we realized that we were quite late. But our tablemates had
waited and the introductions were made.
What a wonderful group of tablemates! Our group of four was seated with another group of four traveling together. We met John and his girlfriend Susan as well as John’s father Virgil. Virgil’s lovely wife Ruth was to dine with us only once during the cruise. But Virgil and I became fast friends. We learned that Virgil would celebrate his 80th birthday on the cruise and decided that he would have a great celebration. We met our wait staff. Damir from Serbia, Piotr (Peter) from Poland, and Sasha from Poland. Before the dinner was over, we knew that we had the perfect dining companions and that we would become instant friends with our wait staff. Our bartender was named Milton. As I drink Diet Coke, I asked Milton to keep my glass full. During the 7 days, I never had an empty glass. Many nights, my glass was waiting on me before I made it to the table.
The dinner selections we varied. I have to admit that I prefer beef whenever possible. I don’t eat much fish or chicken or pork. So I stuck with the beef the entire cruise except for lobster night. I prefer my beef cooked medium. This seemed to be a problem. I really never got my beef cooked right during the cruise. I even order it rare one night. But it always came cooked medium well. Damir apologized profusely and brought it to the attention of the maitre’d but I never sent it back. Even though, the beef was overcooked, it was tender. The one exception was the New York Strip. It was very bad and I just didn’t eat it. By that time, during the cruise, I was so full, I didn’t mind. A replacement was offered, but I declined. But be forewarned, getting a medium rare or medium cooked piece of beef seemed impossible on this cruise.
After dinner, we visited the Rendezvouz Lounge. The small dance band playing was great. We enjoyed them every night after dinner, before heading on to the late entertainment. We spent a little while in the Martini Bar also listening to the string quartet. What wonderful music! We headed for the theatre and the first of the production shows. While the shows were pretty good, you couldn’t hear the soloists very well. I would give these shows another chance during the cruise, but I wasn’t very impressed. The dancers and singers seemed the be of the Six Flags variety. Nothing to write home about.
It was late and we decided to make a night of it. The beds were comfortable enough. We are used to softer beds, but it was sleepable. We were tired and looked forward to our first full day at sea the next day. After a few moments I was asleep. There was the slightest motion of the ship, but nothing big. We had taken Bonine that morning and the ship’s motion simply gently rocked us asleep.