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Summit 10-Day Ultimate Caribbean Cruise: A Long, Informative Review!


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Summit 10-Day Ultimate Caribbean Cruise: A Long, Informative Review!


We just returned on Monday, April 26th from our April 16th, 10-day Ultimate Caribbean cruise on the Summit. This was the second time we sailed this itinerary – we loved it so much in 2002 that we just had to do it again – and it didn’t disappoint the second time around. This cruise was excellent in all areas. Below is what I hope will be an informative review that will assist others in planning a wonderful cruise vacation. If there is anything I missed, please feel free to e-mail me your questions. Here goes – I’ll try to organize my thoughts, but if something pops into my head, I’ll just add it where I can!


Embarkation: Celebrity has definitely improved this process. We easily dropped our four pieces of luggage with the porters at 10:45 a.m. and stood outside the terminal in an orderly line until approx. 11:00 a.m. at which point the Celebrity staff opened the doors to Terminal 25. We were then led to a large, comfortable room and seated in rows of chairs. We were arranged by Suite holders and Captain’s Club Level (we are Classic Founders). A Celebrity staff member checked our documents to ensure both the SeaPass charge form and passenger information forms were properly filled out. Suite holders, then high-level to lower level Captain’s Club members were led to the large check-in area. We were on the Summit, glass of champagne in hand by 11:45 a.m. As we boarded fairly early, we were not escorted to our cabin; we’ve sailed M-Class ships before and as the ship’s layout is easy to negotiate, we found our way to our cabin in about three minutes. Our cabin wasn’t quite ready, however, we dropped our carry-on luggage, locked our valuables in the safe and proceeded to the buffet! All of our luggage was delivered to the cabin by 4:00 p.m.


State Room: We were booked in an aft cabin, #8172 (Category 1B) on the Panorama Deck (8th floor). This was our second aft cabin cruise and, yes, we’re still spoiled! The balcony is very long and about 2/3 covered, allowing sun for a good portion of the day depending on the direction of travel. We had two padded lounge chairs, two unpadded lounge chairs, one very small table (we could have asked for a larger one) plus two, regular upright chairs. The 172 s.f. cabin was comfortable for the two of us and afforded lots of storage space (on day 8 we actually discovered a stack of cubby holes we hadn’t seen or used upon our arrival! Two of our suitcases are very large – 29†– we were able to nest the smaller ones inside, and by leaving the tops open and flopped to the other side, all of them fit under the bed! We always bring an over-door shoe holder with clear plastic pockets to maximize bathroom storage space but we almost didn’t need it - lots of room on the counter, the 2-tier open shelf and cubbies below the sink. Amenities included a well-stocked Lucite Q-tip and cotton ball holder (coincidentally the same one I have here at home), two shower caps, two Celebrity French-milled soaps, wall-mounted hair dryer – very efficient, but the part you hold does get hot quickly, wall-mounted lotion dispenser and a shampoo dispenser mounted in the shower. I don’t like the lotion or shampoo, however, my husband, Kevin, does and used plenty of both. We brought our own bottled water and kept 2-3 chilled in the mini-fridge. We removed only a few of the pre-stocked items just in case we wanted to splurge at some point (which we never did – too much food and drink available elsewhere!). All fabric items (bedspread, cushioned headboard, draperies, sofa-bed, carpeting, etc.) in the state room were clean and in excellent condition.


Ship Overall: As was the case with both Millennium and Century, this ship is beautiful: elegant, tasteful, clean and no neon anywhere. The staff is always polishing railings, cleaning mirrors and woodwork and even painting the outside of the ship. All of the public areas are comfortable and clean. My only negative observation was that some of chairs and couches in the lounges really need to be recovered as they are worn at the edges. I really didn’t notice this myself until one of our tablemates mentioned it – and it’s not noticeable at night in ambient light, only during bright, daylight hours. The ship is very well laid out and there are diagrams of the ship floor by floor at almost all staircases. A nifty little deck plan can be found on the blue “pleather†information folder on the desk in your cabin; if there isn’t one there, they are available at Guest Relations.


Staff: This ship had the friendliest staff ever – and we’ve cruised on Millennium twice, Century once and RCCL twice. I am not exaggerating when I say that I never passed ANY staff member (even a mechanic or outdoor painter) who didn’t look me in the eye and say “good morning/afternoon†or “how are you†or “hello! have a nice day.†Okay, let’s be honest: we all know that the staff is told to do this, however, I really felt the friendliness was genuine. It really made walking around the ship so pleasant and congenial. I must give praise and our sincerest thanks to “our†staff: our Waiter, Gusti from Bali and his assistant, Pariman, from Indonesia; our Cabin Steward Rosidi and his assistant, Irwan, both from Indonesia; the fabulous Social Hostess, “Miss Camilla†from Canada and last, but not least, Zanna, our Sommelier from Croatia. Our Cruise Director Simon Weir and his Assistant, Stuart Tumbull were both excellent – highly visible all around the ship and very friendly. All of these wonderful people did SO much and worked so hard to make our cruise perfect. There are many others, too, just too many to name them all!


Dining/Food: We found the food to be excellent in all venues, and food is available all the time somewhere on the ship! In the Cosmopolitan Restaurant we sat at a table for ten (#551) on the second level. Again, we lucked out: we were seated with four other wonderful couples who made dining a pleasure every night! Breakfast and lunch is available in the dining room every day and seating is open. We found this to be a nice way to meet more new people while avoiding the busy-ness at the buffet. We did have breakfast and lunch frequently at the buffet when we needed to eat and run to get to excursions on time. We also enjoyed a late afternoon snack or “mini-meal†in the Spa Café – the only item we didn’t enjoy there was the sushi – the rice was hard and a little dry. We did not, however, go to the Sushi Bar (6-10 p.m. daily) which might have had a better, fresher selection. We enjoyed the Grill by the pool – hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza were (too) good and the French fries were the best! The Cova café served wonderful coffees along with chocolates or pastries according to the time of day we went – lovely atmosphere and Barbara, the harpist was wonderful. Gourmet Bites were passed by waiters late at night in the public rooms and lounges – excellent, but we were usually too full from (late sitting) dinner! We probably ate four meals per day, quite consistently! I gained seven lbs. but lost three of them already!


The Normandie: Yes, we went to the Normandie on the second casual night and had a wonderful meal. Be sure to eat minimally the day you go, as you will be very full after all four courses which takes approx. two+ hours to be served. We enjoyed all courses – appetizer, entrée, dessert and cheese tray, however, friends of ours told us they were able to forego a dessert or cheese course to have two appetizers. There seems to be more flexibility in this area than before.


Gym: While we didn’t partake of any Spa Treatments, we DID use the gym. There are many weight-bearing machines, free-weights and treadmills and stair-steppers. All machines appeared to be in excellent condition and were clean. Each treadmill had a clipboard with a sign-up sheet, however, on all occasions I went, there were plenty available on a walk-in basis. About halfway through the cruise we decided it was nicer to speed-walk on the track on deck 10; this was easiest after 4:00 p.m. when people had had enough sun! Kevin and I were filmed speed-walking one day and actually made it into the Cruise in Review video. We did not take any of the Pilates, Step or Spinning classes that were available for a nominal fee. Kevin, did, however, enjoy the T-Pool "Ggoing to take a bubble, honey!" on a daily basis!


Pool: The pool deck, though full, was not the chair-hogging scene we were dreading! This may have been due to the “Pool Butlers†who stripped unused towels off of the unoccupied lounges. There were always lounge chairs available on the 11th deck: this made me very happy as I don’t like to witness fist fights while on vacation. Lots of fun pool games every day and the pool band, Voltz was great!


Entertainment: We don’t usually go to the shows, so I don’t feel I can adequately discuss them. We DID go to bingo with our tablemates three times and had a blast (we’d never played before) and two of our group won two out of five games. Karaoke was a great show – no we didn’t participate, but we DID enjoy Marie and Ian’s performances – you go guys!!! Trivia contests were fun – congrats to Doreen who won several!


Captain' Club: We had our get-together one evening before dinner. Very nice to have it at night when we were all awake, instead of at 10:15 a.m. when still sleepy! Captain Manaras came out and said a few words and we all enjoyed a cocktail or two while the orchestra played dance music. On the second or third night we received a small box of Cova chocolates as part of the turn-down service. How they made it home and are still in our fridge, I don’t know – I guess we’re hoping to relive a few “Cova Moments†later! Coupons: Upon embarkation, I went to Guest Relations to be sure my Specialty Restaurant, Shipboard Credit and Cabin Credit had been received: all coupons were accounted for and actually located on a typed list. A word of caution: although our Specialty Restaurant coupon had been received, it was not posted on our account until I noticed it was missing when I checked our account via TV in our cabin. Kalina in Guest Relations handled it very professionally and graciously.


Itinerary/Shore Excursions/Ports: As stated above, we loved this itinerary: two sea days followed by St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and two more sea days prior to the return to Ft. Lauderdale. As all of the shore excursion descriptions are available on the Celebrity website, I’ll simply list the port and the shore excursion (all Celebrity-sponsored) we took and my rating. As we had done tours of all the islands on our last trip, we chose all sailing/catamaran excursions this time. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to e-mail me directly. I’ve based my ratings on price, overall experience and friendliness of staff: St. Maarten – Golden Eagle Island Sailaway: A+… St. Lucia – Pigeon Island Sea Kayaking: C+… Barbados: Swim with Turtles, Shipwreck & Beach: A+… St. Kitts – Catamaran Fan-Ta-Sea: A-… St. Thomas: Turtle Cove Sailing & Snorkeling: A++… All in all, we loved these excursions – and for those who want to know, yes, we swam with turtles during the excursions in Barbados and St. Thomas and it was AWESOME! Kevin took some great shots which I hope to post when all of our pictures have been developed.


Improvements: These are all little details, however, it’s the combination of many small things that often adds up to a major improvement across the board. Daily program (left on bed at turn-down): we found this be easier to read, better organized and more comprehensive than past versions. Pillow chocolates: these were of better quality than those of previous cruises on Celebrity. Sorbet Parade: similar to the Baked Alaska Parade in the Dining Room on the last formal night – excellent, refreshing and a decent portion - not to mention somewhat hilarious to watch! Truly excellent when you’re baking in the sun! “Pool Butlers:†As mentioned above, these people were pleasantly official and very efficient! “Simon Says†daily TV chat: We loved this daily update: Simon Weir appears on Channel 15 daily (continuous loop) and narrates the highlights from the previous day/evening and gives a rundown of the current day’s activities, dress codes, etc. Simon is very entertaining and witty and we didn’t miss a single day!


Cruise Critic: Thanks to Deb and Rick’s shirt, a large group of us met by the pool bar on the first day at 3:00. It was great to meet so many people with whom we’ve been communicating over the last several months. We had our official get-together a day or two later in the morning. A nice spread of coffee and breakfast breads were available and Camilla, the Social Hostess gave each of us a Cruise Critic lapel pin. Even though Kevin and I are very independent, we loved seeing familiar faces around the ship and on our excursions – it really enhanced our cruise experience!


Debarkation: While this is its own subject, perhaps I should have listed it above under “Improvements!†We received our letter telling us where we had to be and when for debarkation and our (5) baggage tags: we are Miami Beach residents with no flights to catch as well as Classic Founder Captain’s Club members, so our luggage tags were “Brown 1†and we were to meet our escort off the ship (Ariel, one of the Celebrity Dancers!) in the Rendez Vous Lounge at 9:15 a.m. We were led off the ship at 9:30 and were collecting our luggage a few minutes later. All luggage is arranged in groups by colored bag. Porters are available to assist you with your luggage and get you to the taxi/private car pick-up/shuttle bus areas. We made it home by 10:45 a.m.


At this time, I simply must say a few hello’s! To our wonderful tablemates – Heather & Sam, Ellen & Jim, Toni & John and Doreen & Diane: we miss you and all the fun we had at dinner! I think we were the loudest and happiest table at second sitting!!! Greetings to ALL of our Cruise Critic friends, but to name just a few - Marie & Ian; Carole, Rick, Suzanne, David and all your well-behaved and beautiful children; Cathy & Rory; Kathy & Rick; Cindi & the Bonster and Deb & Nick we had great fun with all of you and hope you’ll stay in touch!! And Jansen – where were you???? We would have loved to meet you!


Well, that’s about it! I’ll probably remember more tidbits of information which I’ll pass on! Again, all questions are welcome!


Time to start planning our next cruise!


icon_cool.gif Jill icon_cool.gif

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Thanks Jill, great review icon_biggrin.gif We appreciate it very much since this is one of the cruises we are looking at. Debbi


1998 Imagination

1999 Voyager of Seas

2000 Ocean Princess

2001 Explorer of Seas

2002 Radiance of Seas

2003 Golden Princess & Navigator of Seas

2004 Tahitian Princess

2004 Millenium


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Thanks Jill,


Appreciate the great review and my sig below says it all.



Until we sail on SUMMIT for 10 nights






Until MOAGC's on Explorer of the Seas





Seven Cruises last Century, then:


Norwegian Sky 2000 GGC2000

Volendam 2001 GGC2001

Paradise 2001

Sensation 2002 GGC2002

Millenium 2003 (Nov 16)

Mariner OTS 2004 (Feb 29)

Summit 2004 (Nov 05)

Explorer OTS 2005 (Jan 09)

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What a great review!! We took this cruise in 2003 and are going again in March 2005. I only have one question -- were the ports crowded with other ships? We love the Summit and if I could write a review like you did I would have said the same things!!



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Review Addendum #1:


I forgot one item that many will feel is an improvement: The passenger credit acount used to sign for all on-board purchases is now called "SeaPass." You can now charge gratuities to this account. As our cruise ended first thing Monday a.m., the gratuity form needed to be submitted to Guest Relations by 6:00 p.m. the Friday before. We opted not to use this new system; I bring greeting cards from home so we can present cash to everyone who serviced us so well with a personal note from both of us - we feel it's a nicer way to thank the staff and it makes us feel good, too. Others, however, may feel the new way is more convenient!


Lucy - St. Kitts was the only port in which we were the only ship docked! I know it was only two weeks ago that we left, but I'm having a hard time remembering which ships were with us in which port!! One port was very busy with five ships! In St. Thomas, Constellation was docked behind us! I'm posting from work - when I get home, I'll try to get more details for you!


Jill icon_cool.gif

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Thanks for your informative review. We will be on Summit ll night in Dec.We have the room next to the one you had on deck 8. First time for balcony for us so we are excited.Did you have any noise issues from decks above? Sounds great to have shade and some sun at times.In the Normandie any favorites not to be missed? Is there a charge for Cova cafe? We too found walking on deck a great way to work off few calories and make room for late sitting meal.The view was great and makes the work seem easier. Thanks again,


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We were also on this same sailing and I have to say that I couldn't agree more w/ the friendliness of the staff. This was our 10th cruise and have never been on a better ship.

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Hi Jill,

Loved reading your review. Believe it or not I have been working on mine all week on Word and I am afraid it is becoming extremely long! I hope to finish and post it soon.


I am glad to hear that Kevin got some great pictures of the turtles and that you will be posting them. Our underwater camera with our shots from that day either got mixed into somebody else's beach bag in St. Thomas or malfunctioned but when I had it developed it was empty. We were looking at the same turtles so I am happy you have some pix to share.


Seven pounds seems to be the magic number for weight gain - me too! Slowly coming off though.


Keep in touch!





Homelines Atlantic 8/88

Norwegian Seaward 3/89

Celebrity Galaxy 4/00

RCI Enchantment 11/00

Celebrity Summit 4/04

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Jill - great review! We also opted not to charge the tips but our friends did and their room attendant never said thanks so I'm glad I opted to personally hand them out. We charged the cash to our account in the casino so we got the miles on our credit card.

My 2 cents about the Fan-Ta-Sea Catamaran in St. Kitts - I loved this excursion but as has been mentioned in other threads the lunch is very basic. If you do not like cold chicken and hot dogs I would suggest having a big breakfast but do not hesitate to book the excursion.

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Great review, Jill. I hope to cruise on the Summit one day soon.



Constitution '89 Meridian '90

Norway '91 Celebration '93

Zenith 11/01 Sensation 5/02

Century 11/02 Atlantica 03/03

Zaandam 11/03 Horizon 4/04

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Hi Jillicon_smile.gif What a WONDERFUL review!

I may have to change my mind and do the Summit instead of the Millie icon_biggrin.gificon_wink.gif.

Lucy...maybe I should look into your sailing!


Next up...HORIZON Sept 18th to Bermuda!


See My Century and Mercury Pictures at:


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Cindy - here are some answers to your questions:


Regarding noise - no noise from anywhere except loud neighbors in #8176. Also, in the evenings, we were able to faintly hear the "easy listening" singer from up above on the resort deck - he was quite good, but FYI, he played until 11:45 p.m. each night.


The Normandie was excellent. Highlights: Kevin has had the goat cheese soufflé three times. And the chocolate soufflé is definitely not to be missed!


The Cova Café is another lovely spot to be enjoyed almost any time of day or night! There is a charge for the beverages and they are served with complimentary cookies, chocolates (Mmmmmmm) and pastries. The hot cappucinos we had were $2.50 each and the hot coffee with liqueur drinks were $6.75 each: everything we had there was well worth the charge.


Hope this helps! I know you will enjoy your aft balcony - savor every moment!


icon_smile.gif Jill icon_smile.gif

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Miamiroo, Thanks for the great review. We did the same sailing also and would recommend it to anyone asking. Those aft veranda cabins cannot be beat and are getting harder to come by.


I liked your comments about the best staff ever. I can honestly say that I can say the same thing about almost all of our Celebrity cruises.


We were on the Summit when Sushi was only served in the spa and I thought it was really good. I'm sure it varies from cruise to cruise. Since then we have cruised with the Sushi bar being offered in the evening. I personally thought it was great. I missed two nights at dinner because I filled up on Sushi. I've seen many comments from passengers not being impressed by the quality of the Sushi bar, but I for one am thrilled that Celebrity offers it. My homemade Sushi is not up to paar and the price per piece here is not worth it. icon_smile.gif


Zenith from Jacksonville

Feb. 13 05

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Thanks for the review! My mom and I are booked on the Summit 4/1/05. Can't wait! And I am releived to hear about there being deck chairs open without having to get there at 6 am!!


(26 prior cruises & 2 flights on Concorde)


It has been said that angels, while on Earth,

aren't allowed to show their wings,

but nothing was ever said

about not showing their whiskers. <^..^>



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Thanks for your answers. Sounds like we have private entertainment on our balcony, how nice. Never get to bed before Midnight anyway.


Love Cappuccino, was on Constellation but I was never hungry when went past Cavo Cafe. Will definately have to save some room after your advice.


Agree with your husband had goat cheese souffle at the Ocean Liner and it is to die for!

Thanks, Cindy

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Great review!!! So sorry you couldn't make our October SUMMIT cruise but very glad to hear you enjoyed your April venture!!!





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Hi, Ross! Thanks for the message!


We're already looking to book something for 2005 - unfortunately, the Bermuda, Europe and TransAt schedules are not available yet.


Are you planning anything at this time?


Jill icon_cool.gif

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I already had booked the new RCI, JEWEL OF THE SEAS before we left on the SUMMIT in October!!


We will be sailing out of Boston (my home town) on October 28, for 9 nights to Curacao, Aruba, San Juan and finishing in FLL. We have more than 60 Cruise Critic members assembled and I will be in a group of 100 plus pax!! We are really psyched for this one as we somehow landed the one and only ROYAL SUITE!!!







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