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Summit Review 12/11 - 12/18/10 with photos


librarylady19

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As I mentioned in an earlier thread, our week on the Summit was wonderful. It exceeded my expectations in almost every area. I must give credit to Deladane who inspired me to use this format "borrowed" from the thoroughly enjoyable, informative photo review of her Summit cruise a few weeks ago. I hope this review will be half as good as that.

 

This was the 3rd Celebrity cruise for myself and DH, both library directors in the SW suburbs of Chicago. We were curious to try an M class ship and liked the port-intensive itinerary this cruise offered.

 

Off we go...

 

Friday, 12/10 - San Juan

Departure day finally arrived. Up at 4:00 a.m. for an early flight from O'Hare. Things went very smoothly and we arrived in San Juan to sunny skies and green surroundings. Pilot announced it was 83 degrees. Yay we are on vacation at last!

We took a taxi van to the Sheraton Old San Juan (booked for $99 on Hotwire). The process was very well organized. We lined up at the taxi stand outside the baggage area at the airport, were asked where we were going, and we were at our hotel in 15 minutes (cost - $22).

 

We were very pleased with Sheraton. Check in was friendly and efficient and within minutes we were in our room. It was in good condition and very clean.

 

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No time to rest though....I was anxious to explore old San Juan. We set out toward the Paseo de la Princesa to take in some of the sights. It was a lovely afternoon to walk and take in the sights and sounds of the city. There were very few tourists around and the streets were not crowded at all.

 

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Raices Fountain

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We walked on through the San Juan Gate to El Convento Hotel and stopped to enjoy some tapas and a half pitcher of white sangria at El Picoteo in the El Convento Hotel.

 

 

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My first drink of the cruise!

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We loved the narrow cobblestoned streets, colorful buildings and wonderful flowers everywhere.

 

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The view of the ocean and the imposing brick walls was awe inspiring.

 

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I was also enchanted by the cats everywhere in the area of El Morro. They were very friendly and followed us as we walked!

 

We reached El Morro as the sun was setting; more great photo opps!

 

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We were not able to explore inside El Morro as it was already closed for the day, so we walked back to our hotel exploring more of the streets and plazas along the way. The holiday lights were beautiful!

 

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We also met up with some of our Roll Call friends at Mojitos for drinks. Although their mojitos were pretty good, those we had later at the Parrot Club were sublime. We enjoyed meeting Ron (CanadaDJ) his wife Maria and friend Karen and Matt and Marie (the M&M's) all from Canada. I have yet to meet a Canadian I didn't like - a great group of folks!

 

The next morning, we walked to Cafe Mallorca which we had seen on Samantha Brown's Weekends. It is a no-frills restaurant frequented by locals. Their specialty is the mallorca, a grilled ham & cheese sandwich topped with powdered sugar basically. It was pretty tasty as was the Puerto Rican coffee which is a creamy milk and coffee mixture.

 

I was disappointed that many of the outlet stores were not open but did browse in some of the stores selling crafts/jewelry.

 

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We returned to the hotel and checked our luggage while we did a little more sightseeing. We also stopped at the Don Q rum tasting room (near the cruise port) and had some free samples of their rums. Coconut rum at 10:00 a.m....it must be vacation time!

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Embarkation went smoothly and quickly. After dropping off our luggage outside, we had to wait in a short line to show our IDs and get into the building. It was very crowded inside but since we were in a suite there was no wait for that line. Nice! After a quick check-in process, the agent directed us to follow her to the end of the counter where a Normandie employee was stationed in front of a Normandie dinner setting and menu. We were asked if we would like a complimentary dinner in Normandie that evening. Oh yes! The employee rather apologetically informed us that there would be a $5 cover charge. We were more than happy to pay that; he said that they had some people complain about the charge so they had to make sure everyone knew about it up front!! We made a reservation for 6:00 p.m. and headed off to have our photos taken.

 

After gulping down our welcome champagne, we proceeded to Deck 10 and located the Aqua Spa Café.

 

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We wanted to avoid the crowds at the buffet. We were the only people in the Aqua Spa Cafe! We had a light lunch while checking out the T-pool and taking advantage of the lack of people to get some photos of the T-Pool area.

 

 

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We chatted for a little while with Colin & Woh-Peng from our Roll Call (more nice Canadians). When the cabin announcement came at 1:30 p.m. we proceeded to Deck 6 anxious to check out our home away from home for the next week.

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Thanks for the review and the really cool pictures. We were on the same cruise and we had a great time. I hope you had a wonderful cruise too. I have visited Old San Juan and the fortress San Felipe el Morro before during the day. I have no idea they look so beautiful at night. Thanks again for the pics.

 

I shot a lot of videos during this cruise and I will be posting some videos when I get a chance to start editing them... which probably mean some time next week... :D Meantime I am looking forward to reading more of your review.

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Thanks for the review and the really cool pictures. We were on the same cruise and we had a great time. I hope you had a wonderful cruise too. I have visited Old San Juan and the fortress San Felipe el Morro before during the day. I have no idea they look so beautiful at night. Thanks again for the pics.

 

I shot a lot of videos during this cruise and I will be posting some videos when I get a chance to start editing them... which probably mean some time next week... :D Meantime I am looking forward to reading more of your review.

 

Thanks...glad you enjoyed Summit also. Can't wait to see your videos.

Another installment of Day one tomorrow....

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Sky Suite 6145 is adjacent to the Penthouse Suite, aft deck 6, port side. I had researched this suite and pored over photos and reviews prior to our trip. It was just lovely; even nicer than I expected.

The suite is appointed in the same color scheme/woods as the adjoining PH since it serves as an additional bedroom for that suite when needed.

Entering the suite, there is a short hallway with a ledge conveniently just inside the door. The bathroom is immediately on the left. Wow...this was nicer and bigger than most hotels I have stayed in and certainly fancier than my own bathroom!!

 

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The bathroom has marble floors and countertops. The shower stall is very amply sized and has a very powerful showerhead. There is also a detachable showerhead for the bath tub (which is narrow but long enough for a shorter person like myself - no jets tho...).

 

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There is tons of storage space in the bathroom, with two mirrored medicine cabinets and storage in the cabinets under the counter also. There were hooks on the wall that were convenient for hanging up our robes and other items.

 

The closet was behind sliding doors to the right, across from the bathroom door and was plenty big enough for us (some mentioned it was very small). In addition to an area for hanging clothes, there were also deep shelves that were great for stacking clothes and a safe.

 

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Sky Suite 6145 is adjacent to the Penthouse Suite, aft deck 6, port side. I had researched this suite and pored over photos and reviews prior to our trip. It was just lovely; even nicer than I expected.

The suite is appointed in the same color scheme/woods as the adjoining PH since it serves as an additional bedroom for that suite when needed.

Entering the suite, there is a short hallway with a ledge conveniently just inside the door. The bathroom is immediately on the left. Wow...this was nicer and bigger than most hotels I have stayed in and certainly fancier than my own bathroom!!

 

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The bathroom has marble floors and countertops. The shower stall is very amply sized and has a very powerful showerhead. There is also a detachable showerhead for the bath tub (which is narrow but long enough for a shorter person like myself - no jets tho...).

 

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There is tons of storage space in the bathroom, with two mirrored medicine cabinets and storage in the cabinets under the counter also. There were hooks on the wall that were convenient for hanging up our robes and other items.

 

The closet was behind sliding doors to the right, across from the bathroom door and was plenty big enough for us (some mentioned it was very small). In addition to an area for hanging clothes, there were also deep shelves that were great for stacking clothes and a safe.

 

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Sandi...great review and beautiful pictures....keep them coming.....I am literally checking my computer every half hour waiting for the next installment..... I love the Summit and am sailing her again in April. I am so excited to be sailing out of San Juan on an 8 night repositioning cruise back to NJ...I have never been to San Juan but the pitures you have taken make me realize this is not a departure point to just hang at the hotel the night before the cruise....I am definitely going to go around and see some sights....

 

Love that staff of Normandie/Aqua Spa Cafe...... my two favorite places and the same staff works at Aqua Spa inthe morning and Normandie at night......

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The suite featured a firm but comfortable queen size bed with two good sized nightstands with drawers.

 

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The vanity/desk area also had lots of storage in the drawers flanking the desk (deep enough for clothing) and on the shelves. There was only one outlet on the desk. The outlet in the bathroom was European voltage so we had to juggle charging the PC/phone/hair appliances. Bring an outlet strip if you need more...

 

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There was also plently of space to walk around in the suite, despite the presence of a chair, sm. table and couch (sofa bed).

 

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The TV cabinet featured a flat panel TV with more storage above and a mini fridge enclosed in the cabinet below. The connecting door to the PH did allow some noise from the adjoining PH. Fortunately we had quiet neighbors and only heard the piano once or twice and scattered conversations (hopefully we weren't too loud!!). This could be a potential problem if you were not so lucky however.

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We really loved this suite; it was a pleasure to spend time here. We found it a very good size, well laid out with lots of storage. The furnishings and carpet were all in good shape, except for a small stain on the curtain. The bathroom had no signs of mold or other damage.

 

When we met our butler he asked, "how did you get this suite?" I was going to tell him I did my homework on Cruise Critic but decided to let him think I had friends in the right places instead!!

 

The balcony was wider than normal and featured a large round table, 2 chairs with padded cushions and 2 lounger chairs with footstools. This was the area that was most in need of work. The chairs were in pretty rough shape and yes, there was rust on the balcony railing. The rust was also visible on other balconies if you looked around the ship. In fact, I noticed that one of the balcony railings in the PH suite was loose too. However, this in no way impacted my overall extremely positive experience on Summit and should not deter any one from sailing on this ship. Merely noted for the record as this has been the topic of much discussion on CC.

I have no photos or videos of the rust to share....

 

Shortly after we finished oohing and aahing over the suite, our room attendant Menino came and introduced himself. Shortly thereafter our butler Bartolomeo (Bart) came by and we talked a little about what we'd like. I requested a bridge tour, cheese plate in lieu of canapes and cappucino in the morning. DH had no specific requests. Both men were very cordial and eager to please. This was definitely the case with all the staff on Summit. I did not encounter anything less than friendly, helpful service throughout the cruise.

 

Our luggage arrived around 3:00 p.m. and we quickly changed into our swimsuits and were off to spend some time at the pool area.

 

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The area featured two pools. We only used the deeper pool that was 5 feet or more. It was a saltwater pool, long enough for short laps if you were so inclined. There was a shallower pool for the kiddies that I avoided and also family whirlpools (which I thought was a good idea). The other two whirlpools were reserved for adults. Temperature was not overly hot but comfortable.

 

 

The pool area was not overly crowded. Pool butlers and bar staff were always available. There were signs warning not to leave items on chairs for more than 30 minutes and I did see items being removed.

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Muster drill at 5:15 p.m. was uneventful. We sat in Reflections Lounge while rules were explained over loudspeaker and crew members demonstrated how to wear life jackets.

Our dinner at Normandie was at 6:30 p.m. so we went right back to our room to shower and get ready. Normandie is a very beautiful space, much larger than Murano on Century (which was a wonderful dining experience also).

 

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Original panels from SS Normandie:

 

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Dinner was all everyone said. Service was very attentive. We had a waiter (Carlos), assistant waiter (Rosebud), another assistant waiter who served bread and filled water glasses as well as a sommelier at our service.

 

We both had the diver scallop wellington (excellent) followed by lobster bisque (pretty good) then DH had surf and turf and I had rack of lamb (both entrees very good).

 

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Th only disappointment was the “cheese course.” We asked our waiter about this and he said they did have it if you asked. Well, we said we would like it. However, instead of a cheese cart with a variety of choices, we were each given a plate with a few small wedges of cheese, a smattering of walnuts, one date and some type of fig spread. Definitely not worth the stomach space; I will skip to dessert next time. Dessert was divine – a chocolate croquant (fudgy mousse basically) accompanied by a small scoop of white chocolate coffee icecream and an artful drizzle of salted caramel sauce (they should have brought a gravy boat of that sauce!!).

 

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It looked so pretty I didn’t want to disturb it, but forced myself to dig in. Divine! DH wanted the crepes but waiter said the sauce wasn’t ready (whatever that meant) and he recommended trying something else. He had the Quattro apple desserts which were ok but no real wow factor. Seemed like a lot of other people opted for one of 2 souffle options (chocolate or vanilla with mango suace). By the time the complimentary petit fours arrived, I was too full to do them justice and asked if they would box them up. Waiter was more than happy to do so and returned with a foil basket of treats; nice touch!

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We wandered the ship to try and walk off that delicious dinner. We really were impressed by the ship's decor. The atrium was prettily decorated for the holidays with snowflake lights, poinsettias and Xmas trees; understated and elegant.

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We went to the preview show in the Celebrity Theater (late show at 10:30 p.m.). The acrobat duo from France was definitely the highlight. Accapella groups and singers and dancers are not really my cup of tea and the mini performance we saw did not change my mind. Cruise Director Keith Cox seemed pleasant enough thought I was surprised to hear he was from Tennessee, sure didn’t sound like it.

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We ended the evening at Michael's Club with some of our Canadian CC friends, Ron, Maria & Karen. This is a beautiful venue but underutlized. I think a more lively piano act (like dueling pianos) would attract more people. The pianist was a good singer but it was a bit too mellow to encourage a lively crowd.

After one drink we called it a night...our first island stop St. Croix was coming up in the morning.

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Nothing beats the excitement of waking up, looking out your window and seeing a Caribbean island!

 

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I ordered breakfast for 7:30 p.m. (put breakfast card on door the night before). Bart our butler called at 7:50 to announce that he was bringing breakfast and arrived a minute later. He set up breakfast on the balcony complete with tablecloth I wrote in an order for berries and was happy to see a bowl of mixed berries was included in our order.

 

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We got off the ship in Fredericksted about 9:00 a.m. We really should not have rushed however. Our ATV tour was not until noon and there is definitely no more than half hour of “sightseeing” in town. A few stalls set up with jewelry, T-shirts, etc. and a few shops.

 

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I considered taking the shuttle to Christiansted but was afraid we would not get back in time for our ATV tour. There was a small beach area to the left of the docks but it was closed to swimmers (didn't stop a couple of people). We walked along the waterfront and took some nice photos of our ship.

 

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The ATV tour from Gecko was pretty exciting. It was led by Arlin from Colorado (who runs business with his wife). We were with a group of 8 other people, 2 to an ATV. I let DH drive and held on for dear life on the back! Arlin led the group and stopped frequently to give advice on driving the ATVs as well as stopping for photo ops. Nice helmets, huh!!

 

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e drove on paved roads (left side of the street) as well as off road through some pretty bumpy trails (not too muddy though). We even encountered some wild horses at the roadside. [/font]

We climbed up over 750 feet to a look out spot that was great for photos.l in all, a very fun ride; it was just about 1-1/2 hours total ($120 for ATV). Radiance (Arlin’s assistant) gave us a ride back to the port area and we were back on board by 2:00 p.m.

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uh oh...why can't I see the pictures anymore?:(...I could see them

all yesterday:( and the font is way smaller on the Sandi's last few

posts too.

 

That is odd. If you right click on the pic and select "Show Picture" it appears. Think I will put less photos in my next postings to see if that makes a difference. Thanks for your patience. It's taking me a while to get this done with work and all!

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Yea, I finally got the photos opened:D.....great pictures Sandi!

 

Did you by any chance meet Gerald? (Asst Bar Manager).

 

You are fine..put them up. I will right click everytime If I need to:)

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