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l929

Summit review with infant

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We just returned from the 4/30/04 western carribbean on the Summit with our now almost 10 month old son. It was fantastic! We really didnt get to meet many of the 130 or so Cruise Critic Summiteers because we were late for the party and didnt do any excursions.
We arrived the night before in Ft Lauderdale and stayed at Springhill Suites. Bad choice. It was further away and not near any good pre-cruise shopping. We took a taxi to Carlos and Pepe's (A CC recommended restaurant) and to shop at Crown Liquor for our wine (also recommended by CC) and the cab cost $20 each way. Embassy suites was located right there and based on location I think that would have been the better choice. Springhill suites offered shuttle service to the airport and the cruise but we opted to take taxis due to the baby.
Embarkation was simple, we arrived at about 11:30-12:00. We were in a suite so we had no line at all, but even the regular lines were pretty short.
We did feel that we were kind of ignored when we got on the ship. We had a lot of carry on bags that we chose not to give to the porters, like the case of wine we bought, and despite that we saw other (somewhat older) passengers getting assistance with their bags, no one came over to us.
We had Celebrity Suite 7140 which was gorgeous. The pictures that I had seen on this board did not do it justice. It has 2 42" inch plasma screen TVs, 2 DVD players (Not VCRs as adverstised) a computer, a full sized dining table, king size bed, double sink, tons of storage which was necessary with all of the formula and baby food we had. However, there was a problem. The CS does not have a verandah, it has four floor to ceiling windows with individual blinds. One of the blinds did not work and we could not open it the entire cruise, thereby losing 1/4 of our view. Minor, yes, but when you pay for a view you want all of it. NOthing was done to compensate us for this. I will write a letter to Celebrity, but doubt they will do much.
Our Butler, Gene, was just okay. Maybe I expected too much, but I felt any thing I asked him for was a bother. He did everything requested, but it wasnt the experience that I expected. Its not as if I asked for a lot either. For example, we had pre-ordered baby food and formula and it wasnt there when we arrived. I asked about it and he seemed annoyed that he had to go find it. Sure enough, celebrity got all the requested items, including the special formula my son is on. That was impressive.
Something that is also available for babies that is not advertised anywhere is a treasure chest of toys from the Fun Factory. You can go there and sign out for it for the entire week. I think they go by age and gender. Our chest contained a plastic truck and car, sand pail, shovel, a toy cell phone, and a bunch of other age appropriate toys. EVen an activity board for the crib.
By the way, they give you a real crib, not a pack-n-play. It was really nice, made of wood with a nice mattress. We would move it into the bedroom during the day for naps since there is no window in there.
Another piece of advice, BRING A CLOCK!!! I assumed that a clock was provided in the cabin and it was not. There are clocks on the phones, but they dont light up. Since there were no windows in the bedroom, if you woke up in the middle of the night you had no idea if it was morning or night and no way of checking the time without turning on a light.
As for the ports, we did not do a lot. We walked around in Key West. We did not get off the ship in Cozumel because the baby was congested and the ships doctor told us not to leave the ship that day. We listened. We did the 20 minute tender to Belize and walked around, not much there unless you took a water taxi for another 45 minutes. We stayed on the ship in Roatan because it was raining. In Grand Cayman we took a taxi to the Westin thinking we could pay for the day to use the facilities. Well, they dont let you pay. So we packed up and walked to the Hyatt which was $25 per person including a $15 food/beverage credit. It was actually nicer there anyway. The chairs all had canopies, the towels were very plush and the drinks very good.
The dining room- I have to say this was the best part for us. Our waiter, Ali was the best waiter I ever had on a cruise. Juan his assistant was also excellent and he is up for promotion, so if you get him in the upcoming weeks, and you like him, write that on the comment card. Each night I would give Ali my son's baby food to warm up and it would come back not in the jar which is what I expected, he actually put it into a china bowl. They gave him so much attention he loved dinner.
In room babysitting- We had a babysitter 4 of the 7 nights. The first night we had Belinda. We asked our cabin attendant Robert (he was pretty good) about her as we left and he made a face and said, Hmm, I dont know she has only been on the ship for 2 cruises. That freaked me out so we requested another sitter after that. We then had Carmen who lucked out the first 2 nights because the baby slept the entire time. The last night he woke up because of all the noise with the luggage being carried about the ship and she handled it well.
We ate at the Normandie twice, it was that good. The Chateau Briand with the brown sauce was amazing as was the lobster soup. The goat cheese souffle did not thrill me. I also had the shrimp which was excellent and my DH had the lamb which he enjoyed. The cheese course was my favorite, something we had everynight on a trip to Paris and it was almost as good.
As we were on the ship a lot, we ate lunch on it almost every day. The spa lunch is by far the best. The grill was also good. We did not eat in the dining room for lunch or breakfast. We had room service from there for breakfast everyday which was nice. We had lunch in the room once and dinner once which Gene served us course by course. He tried getting out of doing it which is one of my complaints. We ordered it that morning and told him the night before that we would be doing it, so its not like he didnt have notice of it. But, he did do a good job.
Overall it was an excellent experience and we are hooked on Celebrity and will cruise with them again.
Feel free to post any questions, especially about cruising with an infant.

Holiday 8/89
Festival 8/90
Fantasy 1/91
Tropicale 8/91
Costa ??? 8/92
American Hawaii ??? 8/94
Imagination 8/96
Radiance 3/02
Summit 4/04

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Thanks for the great review. We are taking our almost 15 month old with us on [I]Infinity[/I] to Alaska this September. She is eating just about anything and everything and will be switched to whole milk at the end of this month.

Did you bring your own fitted crib sheets or were they provided. I have read to expect either a PNP or a crib. My TA suggested for the baby at least bringing her crib sheets just because she is used to our detergent. Not that she has sensitive skin, but just to ease the transition.

How many hours did you use the babysitter for each night. We plan on booking at as soon as possible upon boarding.

Thanks for the tip on the Fun factory and the treasure chest of toys. It will save on the number of things we have to carry.

"People don't know there's such a thing as recreational defibrillation" - [B]Walter Becker on NPR[/B]

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I brought sheets with me, both pnp and crib and didnt use either. They had a sheet wrapped around the mattress and held together with tape. The sheets were soft and I didnt bother. The pnp sheet would probably have fit better as the crib was a little short.
It was very easy to get a babysitter, I actually requested one each day as needed, not all at once which I thought I would have to do, but there were not that many children on the ship, 90 total I think and of that maybe 20 or so infants. If there were more it may have been a problem. The min. time is 3 hours and you have to be back by 1 a.m. We basically did the 3 hours, one night we did 4 hours. It was $8 hour and we gave Carmen a tip on the last night of 20%.
Its a very different experience cruising with a small child, but a great one!

Holiday 8/89
Festival 8/90
Fantasy 1/91
Tropicale 8/91
Costa ??? 8/92
American Hawaii ??? 8/94
Imagination 8/96
Radiance 3/02
Summit 4/04

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Thanks for the info! We'll have our 16 month old with us on the Summit in June. When you say 'pre-order baby food', are we suppose to let them know ahead of time the type of formula and her preferred jarred food? Is there a menu somewhere listing what they offer infants? I just assumed we would have to cut up 'adult' food for her, assuming baby food is not available ( or bring our own).

Did you wash/sterilize/dry your own bottles and food utensils?

thanks for any info,
Melissa

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Melissa,
You fax your request to special needs services, I dont have the number but its on the website. This is not advertised anywhere and I only knew about from someone else who got it for their child. They ask that the request be submitted at least 21 days before your sail date. They also ask you to specify what brands, what stage and what types as well as how many. I just wrote down every baby food he eats and they got most of it. I think someone runs down to the local supermarket in port on the day you sail.
As for bottles, I used disposible liners and brought dish soap to wash out the nipples. I bought the take n toss spoons and bowls and threw them out as I used them. Well, I really didnt use the bowls since our waiter did put the food in a real bowl. Otherwise I just fed him out of the jars. Warming the jars and bottles in the room was a little tricky. I just ran the water as hot as it could go and filled a champagne cooler with it.
Hope this helps..

Holiday 8/89
Festival 8/90
Fantasy 1/91
Tropicale 8/91
Costa ??? 8/92
American Hawaii ??? 8/94
Imagination 8/96
Radiance 3/02
Summit 4/04

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Was whole milk available?

We are in the process of weaning our DD off both formula and bottles and onto cups and whole milk. She only ate baby food for about a month and has basically had just about everything we have eaten despite the fact she only has four teeth.

"People don't know there's such a thing as recreational defibrillation" - [B]Walter Becker on NPR[/B]

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Also...could you get in-room babysitting during the day or only at night? We might want to do a Rasul for ourselves.

TIA

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Excellent review. May I quote you and add some of your suggestions to my web site, [url="http://www.celebrity-century.com?"]www.celebrity-century.com?[/url]

Thanks!
Neal

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Flagger-
I dont know about the milk as my son is still on formula. I think you can get the babysitter during the day, we didnt ask, but I think they said you could, despite that the website says only at night.

I forgot to write about the sit n stroll in my review (who I credit cabin4four for ) It was great. It is a car seat that converts into a stroller, sort of like luggage, the handle comes out on top and wheels fold underneath. It is pretty easy to put into a car and secure with a seat belt. Although, I could not lift it with my son in it, but thats what DH's are for LOL! So that is what we used in taxis, even those van things. I do recommend getting a shade to go over it because it has no canopy. I bought the Graco carseat shade and actually put it over the bottom of the seat b/c his legs had no coverage, his head was ok b/c he wore a hat. The sitnstroll has a shade you can buy, but the store I purchased it at did not carry it.
If your child is forward facing, you can get the totengo which is something very light , basically a board with a 5 point harness and then you can use a light umbrella stroller which is what I wished I could have done, but my son is still rear facing.
Neal, feel free to quote me.

Holiday 8/89
Festival 8/90
Fantasy 1/91
Tropicale 8/91
Costa ??? 8/92
American Hawaii ??? 8/94
Imagination 8/96
Radiance 3/02
Summit 4/04

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