Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

js10

Jan. 7 Summit Trip Report

Recommended Posts

This website was of great assistance to me in the planning of our Jan. 7th cruise on Summit and I hope that this trip report is likewise helpful to others.

My wife and I flew to Ft. Lauderdale one day early and stayed at the Marriott Marina. I would suggest a room that faces the canal rather than the ocean. Try to book a room that is as high as possible and then enjoy the parade of million dollar yacths up and down the canal all day and night. There is a water taxi stop right on the grounds and a nice outdoor bar/restaurant (Goosby's) that is informal and directly on the canal. The hotel is a bit pricey but seemed worth it to me. There is a complimentary shuttle to the port and, again, the views can't be beat. The Pier 66 also looked very convenient. I had met Bill and Mel on the Cruise Critic Summit board prior to the curise and we arranged to meet at Goosby's for drinks on the evening prior to the cruise. It was fun to bump into a familiar face on Summit throughout the week and we also met at the Martini Bar prior to dinner twice during the week. We were surprised and pleased with the city of Ft. Lauderdale. We came early only for the protection against possible Northeast weather problems and really did not expect much. I would strongly suggest pruchasing the $5.00 all day water taxi ticket rather than the $14.00 boat tour if you want to see the "Venice of North America." The taxi operators offer running commentaries on the mansions and yatchs that you pass and there are many restaurant possibilities along the way. There is absolutely no need to rent a car.

Equally impressive was the organization of the Ft. Lauderdale officials and Celebrity staff at the time of embarkation. At the suggestion of people on this site, we took the 11:15 shuttle to the port. I was sitting at an outdoor table in the Waterfall Cafe/Bar on deck 10 with lunch and a beer in front of me by 12:15! It was a very efficient operation indeed. Because we booked last minute we had e-docs. The only differences I could see was a lack of detailed descriptions of shore excursions and no luggage tags. Generic luggage tags were readily available at the dock and we simply wrote our cabin number on them and left them with all the other bags.

Cabin selection was very limited when we booked last minute and we ended up in an inside cabin on the lowest possible level, very far forward. This was our first time in an inside cabin and I was not sure what to expect but it worked out quite well. It was the exact same size as our balcony cabin on Galaxy but it seemed smaller without the veranda. I put a towel across the door sill at night and removed the nightlight and the room was completely dark as we slept. We did not have a clock in our room except for a small digital display on the phone that was not lighted. Consider bringing a small travel clock if that would bother you. Although we had moderate seas most of the week, we never felt anything but a gentle rocking motion while we slept. I really think future cabin selection for us will be based on value. If I can upgrade to a balcony for a few hundred dollars I will do so, but I would not hesitate to book an inside cabin again. Joseph, our cabin attendant, was wonderful. It is a running joke on cruise ships, but I really would like to learn how he knew when we had left our cabin. We would rarely see him in the hall, but he would ALWAYS clean the room when we were gone. The bed was made twice a day, but towels were replenished and the bathroom was cleaned multiple times during the day.

Food is a major factor in our cruise experience, and again, we were impressed with Celebrity. I am convinced that the biggest problem Celebrity has in this area is the level of expectations that they have created through their advertising. You cannot feed that many people that quickly and deliver a "five star" experience, but that is what is expected by many guests. We found the appetizers and soups to be varied and excellent and the salads to be fresh but boring. It was pretty much the same two salads each evening with a slightly different look or dressing. The main courses were overall quite good. Food was always hot and usually interesting. I had one veal dish that was somewhat tough and found most of the vegetables and starches to be little more than garnishes, but all of the other main courses were memorable. We enjoyed a wide selection of desserts and always somehow found the room to enjoy it. Service was excellent. By the way, a couple of interesting threads I have followed on this site involved bread and Evian water. A full basket of bread (and breadsticks) was delivered to the table within minutes of being seated each night and a second basket was delivered, without asking, when the first basket was nearly empty. The Evian water was offered/poured the first night and two our our tablemates accepted, but by the second night everyone was drinking the regular table water. My wife and I are early risers so we rarely had to deal with long lines for breakfast or lunch since we ate earlier than most. Omelets, waffles, and fruit for breakfast and we tried everything once for lunch. One evening when the Maitre'D asked if anyone had any concerns with the food, a tablemate said they did not like the scrambled eggs. He said that the scrambled eggs were one of the very few items not prepared fresh in the kitchen (I assume they were powdered eggs), and he recommended going with the poached eggs, omelets, or fried eggs which are also prepared at the omelet station. The sandwich bar at the very back of the ship offered a different hot sandwich each day on wonderful breads and the pasta station got terrific reviews from everyone who tried it. I also followed with interest many discussions on this board concerning the specialty restaurant. Put me in the camp that says, "you must try this once!" The Normandie Restaurant experience was one of the highlights of the trip. Think of it as a $60 equivalent of a shore excursion. Two of our tablemates had recently been to the Boston Four Seasons for dinner and said that the Normandie was far superior.

We were impressed with the entertainment on Galaxy, but Summit was even better. The Celebrity Singers and Dancers put on three "production style" shows that were excellent and the acts that were brought on ship were equally good. There were music options throughout the shop from 5:00 pm until well after we went to bed.

Our ports of call varied in many ways. We had not visited St. Lucia or Barbados before. In my opinion, both of these ports lend themselves to formal shore excursions if it is your first visit. I pictured Barbados as a place that we could walk on our own much like San Juan. Wrong. The port itself is industrial and the downtown area is very busy. After about 15 minutes of wandering around aimlessly, we took a cab to Holetown to have lunch and see some beaches. We ended up swimming right in front of the hotel where Tiger Woods honeymooned and the beach was wonderful. Unfortunately, I made the most basic of tourist mistakes and paid the cab driver in dollars, not taking into consideration the 2 for 1 exhange rate. On St. Lucia we took a very "touristy", but fun, catamaran excursion to the Pitons. The featured beach break was only 20 minutes at most, but the unlimited rum punch and cheesy poofs (no kidding), were most welcome. We noticed that the returning Pirate Ship excursion also looked like fun. Although the port at St. Lucia was very picturesque, there was not a great deal to do in that immediate vicinity and that is why it seemed like a shore excursion might be a good option. We had visited St. Martin in 2003 and did the Orient Beach thing at that time, so we simply hung out in town and had a great time. The "boardwalk" there has been completed since our last visit and the beach is also greatly improved. We enjoyed it even with nine ships in harbor that day, so I would guess that a more typical day with only a few ships would be even better. We tendered in St. Martin and heard that a number of passengers were injured getting on and off the tenders. It was very rough in the harbor and I am sure tht the captain must have come close to not letting anyone off the ship. In St. Thomas we took an excursion to St. John's for beach, tour, and snorkeling. This was the only terrible weather we experienced with frequent rain squalls getting everyone truly drenched. I stayed in the water where it was wet anyway and the cruise back to St. Thomas was sunny and beautiful. St. John's was beautiful and I would like to return some day. Two of our tablemates, Dennis and Maureen, are seasoned travelers to the Caribbean and they arranged most of their own shore excursions through Jeep rentals or the hiring of cabs. It takes a lot of research and confidence, but if you know what you are doing, it looks to be superior to using Celebrity tours.

Since we love the relaxing nature of cruising, the four days at sea (with two back to back) were one of the highlights for us. We quickly settled into a daily routine that was centered around food and the use of the Thalassatherapy Pool. On Galaxy, the pool cost $10.00 per day per person, on M-Class ships the pool is free. If you use the pool much, check out the sauna/shower rooms right next to the pool.

Random Thoughts--

We had wonderful tablemates for dinner and it is hard to overstate the effect that this can have on the quality of the dinner and cruise experience. In addition to making dinner enjoyable, we made friends that we talked, dance and partied with during the week.

The much discussed deck chair situation is a problem only if you must sit near the pool. My wife and I found chairs (with great views!) at all times during the day on either side of deck four, and at the very front of the ship on deck eleven. The deck eleven spot had the added advantage of providing an excellent windbreak.

I don't think we had more than 20 children on the ship and they were very well behaved and supervised. 95% of our fellow passengers were friendly and pleasant to be around. The 5% who were rude, however, were very rude.

The pricing of alcoholic drinks is very uneven. Beer seemed reasonable at $3.50 per bottle (some premiums were $4.25) and the larger Heinekin draft at $4.00 was a welcome addition since our Galaxy cruise in 2003. Daily drink specials were also reasonable at $4.50 (I believe). Wine was another matter. The lowest (half!) glass of cabernet was just over $8.00 as I recall and the lowest chard was $7.75.

My wife and I truly enjoyed engaging the international Celebrity crew/staff in conversations about their home country and about their experiences as crew members of Summit. To a person, they seemed to enjoy talking about their country and about their job. I do not know if Celebrity gets the credit for the recruiting and training of their staff or if it simply the nature of the type of young person who seeks out this type of work, but they were uniformly pleasant and interesting.

I hope the marketing people know what they are doing with the whole Cirque du Soleil thing. The buzz on board Summit was not positive. It was not so much hostility to the new concept as much as concern about losing the beauty and daytime views of Revelations.

I was in the minority on this one on ship, but I like Summit's current paint job and hate to see Celebrity make her clone of the other M-Class ships. We had nine ships in the harbor at St. Martin, and in my biased opinion, Summit was by far the most distinctive.

Try the 10:45 am cooking demonstration. Where else could you sample beef tenderloin and martinis in the morning and not feel guilty?!

We are not sure when our schedules and finances will allow us to cruise again, but I will certainly return to this website for friendly advice and assistance when we do.

 

John.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John,

 

So glad to hear you had a good time. It sounds like what we have experienced on our cruises with Celebrity. Thanks for taking the time to write your review.:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John.........

 

GREAT review!!!! Thanks for taking the time to post it!!! We have been on alot of Celeb ships, but not on Summit yet. Did the Galaxy last yr to S. Carrib. Just got off Mercury a wk ago from the 10nt Mex Riv. cruise. Fun time!!!

 

Doreen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John,

 

Great review. We also sailed on that itinerary onboard Summit back in November. I agree pretty much with all you say. It is indeed a gorgeous ship. However, like the majority you quoted, I will be glad to see her with her new paint job. But then I am a long time Celebrity 'customer' and I favor tradition. Whatever the color scheme of this ship, it does or will not detract from the overall.

 

We were also in St. Maarten and St. Thomas with you, but on the Explorer of the Seas. Suffice it to say, that I wanted to jump ship and join the Summit again. We were lucky enough to be docked. I did not venture into town because of our recent trip there and the gazillion cruise passengers there that day. I did walk up the pier to the shops and was fascinated by the 5 ships lying at anchor. At a certain angle, it almost appeared that the ships were in a race. Pretty neat, IMO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great review John.My wife and I and 3 other couples were on the same cruise as you and i second all of your comments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John B.

 

Interestingly, one of the most frequent criticisms of the Summit paint job I heard concerned the "Gas Turbine" wording on the side of the ship. People said it made her look like a hot rod, GTO, muscle car, etc.!

 

John.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Awards
      • NCL Sail-Away Giveaway Sweepstakes - Win a 7-Day Cruise on Norwegian Joy!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Community Contests
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...