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Honeymooners REVIEW of the SUMMIT in the S Caribbean on 22Feb in AQ AFT w DIETARY Req

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Wo hoo! Sea day! Our first full day of relaxation – except that we quickly figure out that we didn’t know how to relax. We were finding it difficult to stay in the one spot without feeling guilty. Welcome to the world of cruising? :cool:

 

 

We woke up ‘late’ & headed to Blu for breakfast (around 9am?). Except Blu finished service early today due to the big MDR brunch. We missed breakfast! NNoooooo!!! So then we went to the Aqua Sap Cafe. I was very surprised that the only thing i would eat there was poached fruit. Mmmm. So far, food wise, I was not impressed. By the time we left we headed to the Brunch so highly spoken of. We walked in & it was VERY busy. We walked around a little & looked at the craftsmanship. I don’t eat at buffets, find that there is too much cross contamination – i could have asked for staff assistance but they were running around – it was VERY busy in there. We didn’t want busy, DH had already eaten so we left. This was the only time during the entire cruise that i can honestly say i was hungry. We spent some time in our room & before we knew it was midday.

DH had signed up to Poker tournament with a buy in of $60. I took this chance to go exploring on my own. Which really meant checking out the Aqua Spa Cafe for food J There is a ‘standard’ menu with the a few of the options changing daily. This place confused me. There were two separate ordering areas each serving a specific selection off the menu. I won’t be able to tell you which was which – all i know is that each time i went to order something I would be told to go to the other area. One time I got asked to go to the OTHER counter – AGAIN. There was a particular staff member here who did not have much patience for the newbie’s & during my time there I saw him scare quite a few people away with his abruptness. I think they could definitely do with some signage.

I ordered the shrimp & mango a la carte menu item – it was made fresh with a 15 minute wait. Sounded perfect. I noticed that there was a dessert, a coconut rice dessert – without gluten NOR dairy! Winning! I also ordered the ’serenity’ smoothie. I found a nice quiet spot facing the ocean & awaited my order. Did I mention that I was starving at this point?

This was my main meal that arrived

 

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I don’t think it could have been any smaller should I had asked for it to be portioned out! I ate it all in about 2.5mins. Garnish included.

 

I turned to my smoothie for some consolation. It was the most horrible drink I had tasted – the soy milk was so watery & the green tea flavour was simply not enjoyable. Ultimate fail. I looked at the dessert & wondered whether to bother. I decided to go with it. Now this dish was saved my mood – it was SO yummy! It took a little longer to eat & enjoyed every mouthful. I now knew what i like from the Aqua Spa cafe & each day I came back in hope that this dessert was the pick of the day. I was lucky a few more times.

 

 

The Aqua Spa Cafe drinks menu

 

 

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It was 1pm & decided to go back to the casino to see whether DH had won some retirement funds. Zilch. And he wasn’t happy about it either! He thought he was SO close...

At 2.45pm we joined the Galley Tour- which attracted A LOT of people. It was the other time on the cruise that it felt crowded. It started in the MDR as we were handing coloured tickets on the way in. Whilst we waited for our ticket colour’ to be called out there was a bit of a Q & A. It was our turn to go through the galley & it was uneventful. We didn’t end up with a charismatic guide, so that may have played a part in it. A few things we learnt:

 

 

  • Employees work 10 -12 hours on a pot day & between 12-14 on a sea day or turn around day
  • Just about everything is made onboard (walked past the bakery section & it smelt AH-MA-ZING)
  • The ship can stock up to 14 days at anytime
  • They go through ‘checks’ – the last one resulted a score of 98% - the points lost were due to dimmed lighting in the staff area & some broken tiles – so not food related

 

The Galley was interesting to tour & glad we did so, but i don’t think we would go again on another cruise.

 

Time to get acquainted with the Sunset Bar – some Pina Colada’s were ordered & we enjoyed them on our balcony for a pre-dinner drink. Tonight was formal night so I took the opportunity to get dolled up. DH wasn’t keen on bringing formal clothes so we were prepared to eat in Blu. Although Blu is smart casual, we found that most of the guests WERE dressed up. DH felt out of place. I had pre-ordered my meal earlier that day (cannot remember now sorry!) & DH had the crab risotto which was nice, but nothing special. As posted on these boards most tables are set up for two people but close enough to other tables so that you can strike up a conversation easily enough, or not. As it was our first night in Blu we appreciated the surroundings but were still in discovery mode. Next up – Michael’s Club!

 

 

DH is a beer connoisseur & was very much looking forward to this. He was very impressed by the selection. I believe that they are eliminating this area & it will be a real shame. It looks like they didn’t even give the concept a real go by its placement on the ship & opening hours. We enjoyed some time there whilst i drank...wait for it...a champagne beer.

Some images of the menu:

 

 

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Apologies if these menu's are no interest to you but DH insisted that they would make SOMEONE happy...

 

 

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I'll note here that my drink was over the $14 limit for premium beverage package. I was expecting to pay the difference but later on according to our account on the tv they had actually charged us the full amount. We had every intention of rectifying it but the charge was reversed.

 

 

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Awesome! I'm not a beer drinker by nature, but always love to try new things, and they've got a great selection - thanks for posting!

 

Sorry you had trouble finding food to eat, it must be difficult relying on someone else to tell you what is safe or not...and not really knowing for sure...I'm glad you found some things to like, can't wait to read more!

 

3 more sleeps!

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After Michael’s we headed to back to our room to find this little guy on our bed. Weirdly enough I got really excited! Unfortunately for me, it was the first & last time a towel animal appeared.

 

 

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Also there was this canvas handbag – it actually folds up into a envelope sized – it was perfect to fit our beach towels in. I ended up giving this to mum & she was SO happy. If i had realised how happy she would have been with a Celebrity branded bag i wouldn’t have had to buy her the Longchamp bag we purchased for her!

 

 

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So that was our sea day. Quiet, relaxing & enjoyable - a perfect start to our upcoming ports days.

First up will be Barbados! Stay tuned :D

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Champagne beer!!!

 

I got off the Summit a few weeks ago and I loved loved loved the champagne beer. Its hard to explain but it just worked for some reason. I had the premium package and only had one or two issues with them charging me when they shouldn't have and it was cleared up easily at the front desk.

 

Your report has been great, thanks for all the detail and effort you are putting into it, a fun read!

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Thank You for the beer menu's. My husband likes craft beers as well and had not seen these posted anywhere. I am sad about the Towel animals - on our last cruise (with HAL) we got one every night and the kids loved the pics of them when we got back + I always looked forward to coming to our room each night to see what animal our steward had made..

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This review is so much fun to read. I have started my bible for our April transatlantic. I had things printed and info but hadn't organized them yet. Your tips were helpful

 

I am glad that you are enjoying the read. I always feel so much better travelling when I know I'm organised :)

I hope you have a great cruise in April!

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Yes' date=' I think we have a good cruise group on CC for the Summit next week. We had all of our excursions planned ( I am very much like you, binder all tabbed and highlighted with things to do and different options.) Just got an e-mail from the Dominica operator canceling the tour due to family of 6 canceling. Aghh so now trying to re-book. Anyway - my e-mail is mapetry@live.com. Can't wait for the rest of your story....

 

That is very annoying - so close to the cruise! I guess they have given you warning & didn't tell you on the day of. I guess by being a part of private tours you always run that risk - but as I found out, it was completely worthwhile!

 

There's 125 of us signed up through Cruise Critic for the connections party - that's quite a lot! We're really excited to be part of such an active group!

 

This cruise sounds like it's going to be an absolute blast! I hope you had a great time & looking forward to reading all about it on your return :D

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Awesome! I'm not a beer drinker by nature, but always love to try new things, and they've got a great selection - thanks for posting!

 

Sorry you had trouble finding food to eat, it must be difficult relying on someone else to tell you what is safe or not...and not really knowing for sure...I'm glad you found some things to like, can't wait to read more!

 

3 more sleeps!

 

I also don't enjoy beer - not girly enough for me :D Although, saying that I can recommend the Champagne beer as well as the Framboise - very sweet! Doesn't taste like beer at all!

 

The good news for me is that my food luck changed from this day forwards. In fact, I'll go as far as to say I would return JUST for the food! It's all coming....;)

 

Champagne beer!!!

 

I got off the Summit a few weeks ago and I loved loved loved the champagne beer. Its hard to explain but it just worked for some reason. I had the premium package and only had one or two issues with them charging me when they shouldn't have and it was cleared up easily at the front desk.

 

Your report has been great, thanks for all the detail and effort you are putting into it, a fun read!

 

Thank you for the compliment :o

I was confused about the concept 'Champagne Beer' but I'm glad I tried it & as you say, it just works!

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Thank You for the beer menu's. My husband likes craft beers as well and had not seen these posted anywhere. I am sad about the Towel animals - on our last cruise (with HAL) we got one every night and the kids loved the pics of them when we got back + I always looked forward to coming to our room each night to see what animal our steward had made..

 

I'm glad I could help - I know I would have loved to have shown DH the menu's prior to the cruise to get his excitement levels up!

 

I know towel animals are seen t be dorky & all that, but as a new cruiser it made me smile! :)

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Thanks for the wonderful report so far. DW and I are leaving on 4/19. It will be our 3rd time on the Summit and second time with your itinerary. I'm looking forward to reading your reports of the islands through your eyes!

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Thanks for the wonderful report so far. DW and I are leaving on 4/19. It will be our 3rd time on the Summit and second time with your itinerary. I'm looking forward to reading your reports of the islands through your eyes!

 

It's my pleasure! I had a massive headache last night & ended up in bed at 9pm so apologies for the no update.

 

Your cruise will be here in no time - enjoying the excitement build up :D

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Thanks for a great review and really enjoying the photos! We recently booked a B2B on the Summit for next March so looking to gather all the tips we can. And yes I always travel with a binder of detailed info and a spreadsheet detailing daily activities.... :rolleyes:

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It's my pleasure! I had a massive headache last night & ended up in bed at 9pm so apologies for the no update.

 

Your cruise will be here in no time - enjoying the excitement build up :D

 

Don't you dare apologize, the work you're putting into this report is fantastic and picture reviews are the best!!!!!

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I'm sorry that you had a headache and didn't get to finish - we leave tonight, so I guess I'll have to read the rest when I return!

 

Thanks so much for posting what you did so far, as it was a great view of the sea day and some of the menus, and I love your style!

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Patiently waiting for your next update :) :)

 

Hope you are feeling better.

 

Also - maybe I missed it - but what is the brand of champagne beer? I've never heard of it, but I"ll have to try to find it on Summit in January I guess. Maybe sooner if I can find it in the grocery store here.....I bet either World of Beer or Total Wine would have it in my neck of the words.

 

brand and pic or link would be much appreciated ;)

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Hi!

 

Thanks for your great review! We are leaving 2 weeks from today on the Summit! My DH is also lactose intolerant. It's great to see there are some lactose free options available onboard.

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Hi All,

 

I'm very sorry for the abrupt halt on the review - I know it can be annoying only read a portion & waiting to hear the rest..

 

Last week I my mum was admitted to hospital so I had to take the next flight over to be with her. She's improving, but I had to return to work & landed back home late last night.

 

I have a bit of catching up to do at home (ok, a LOT) but will get back to the review hopefully in the next few days as things settle down. Truth be told, sharing our trip perks me up & I certainly need that at the moment!

 

I will try to respond to questions during my lunch break to save on time at home ;)

 

Many thanks,

Xcitdcruiser

 

 

Ps. I should also mention, I did what any good daughter would during my time away & convinced my parents to book a med cruise - they need something to look forward to!

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Hi All,

 

I'm very sorry for the abrupt halt on the review - I know it can be annoying only read a portion & waiting to hear the rest..

 

Last week I my mum was admitted to hospital so I had to take the next flight over to be with her. She's improving, but I had to return to work & landed back home late last night.

 

I have a bit of catching up to do at home (ok, a LOT) but will get back to the review hopefully in the next few days as things settle down. Truth be told, sharing our trip perks me up & I certainly need that at the moment!

 

I will try to respond to questions during my lunch break to save on time at home ;)

 

Many thanks,

Xcitdcruiser

 

 

Ps. I should also mention, I did what any good daughter would during my time away & convinced my parents to book a med cruise - they need something to look forward to!

 

Sorry to hear about your Mum, I hope she is on the mend. We all have busy lives and appreciate the effort that is put into a review like this. Take your time. I think people were generally concerned about you not the review when you dropped off the radar.

Keep your chin up!

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It was much quieter than Flamenco & is known for the turtles in the area. This is the amazing part. We actually swan with wild turtles! We didn’t have to feed them, they just swam towards us. We were beyond excited!

 

I was in PR earlier this year. LOVED Culebra. Getting ferry tickets seems like a nightmare. We booked a kayak snorkeling tour with a company that reserved us tickets, so we just went to the front of the line to pick them up. VERY turbulant boat ride though! Apparently the locals call it the "puke box"! Tested out my sea sickness wrist bands and now know that they work! Snorkeling with the turtles was awesome!

 

I wish I had your hotel and restaurant recommendations for OSJ though! We stayed mostly in Farjardo at the Farjardo Inn, which was affordable and a nice little resort.

 

Thanks for your review :-)

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We were so excited today – our first port day! The best way to start the day is by having breakfast in Blu. Blu has 2 x types of bacon on their menu (didn’t think we’d actually get to choice OF bacon!) I don’t recall what they were actually called (sorry!) but I randomly picked one – it ended up being SUPER crunchy – YUM! I didn’t eat very much as I was conscience that I had not eaten a breakfast in Blu & was unsure how my tummy was going to react. I had some herbal tea which was divine & some apple juice. The worst apple juice I have ever tasted. This was one thing that Celebrity can change – apple juice fans worldwide would rejoice!

Before I go on, I’ll provide some insight into how I selected we spend each day. After a few hours / days / research the information available & options at each port became overwhelming. Before I knew it I just about lined up 5 days of back to back excursions that were 8 hours long. Each. This was going to be a tiring trip. Then I had a flashbulb moment – I don’t want to be tired after this cruise, I want to be relaxed! I want to enjoy each day & not regret burning myself out by trying to see & do too much. So I went back to basics & decided to start small. Which islands HAD we heard of & wanted to explore, which hadn’t we & were happy to relax. So I’ll start off each port with some key words that we used as inspiration.

What we thought of when we heard Barbados: Pristine beaches, Rihanna, turquoise water, rum, reggae. So off I went to find something that would either reflect this or bring us back to reality.

Once I started searching for what to do in Barbados, two things stood out – heading to the Boatyard, a popular beach stop with water activities. A minimal entry fee which in turn provides you with a chair, shared umbrella & a shuttle bus back to the ship. The beach had an ocean trampoline, iceberg, & rope swing. This sounded like fun. Except I couldn’t get past the number one rated excursion in Barbados – the Calabaza Sailing Cruise. The only reason people wouldn’t use them is because they couldn’t get ON it. When I realised this I automatically decided that Calabaza was my no. 1 choice & should it not be available, off to the Boatyard we would go.

11 MONTHS prior to our cruise I sent off an email request enquiring about availability during our day in Barbados. Although other days in February were booked up, we were in luck!

For a $110 you get a 5 hour lunch cruise with 12 guests onboard & 3 crew on hand. Intimate much? Transfers to & from the port are included as well as an open bar. This sounded great! I shared the info our roll call & soon enough, many months in advance this excursion was booked up.

The pick up from the port at 9am went off without a hitch. Upon boarding your shoes are taken off & you are introduced to Gina, the crew & all the in’s & out’s of the catamaran. Unfortunately it wasn’t a very warm morning & the first stop was very close by (no time to warm up!) – swimming with the turtles! We were provided with all the snorkelling equipment you would need – vest, mask, noodle & even a floating device that attached to my underwater camera so it wouldn’t sink!

 

We jumped in & the water was not as warm as I envisioned. There were A LOT of people around. It was very crowded - I was getting smacked by fins, noodles & waving arms. Staff members (from our & other excursions) started releasing food...then...masses of turtles start appearing. (still unsure of how I feel about feeding wild turtles) And the crowd goes wild. Literally. The sight of the turtles made this experience ‘almost’ worthwhile. There were many of them swimming around..

 

 

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Then, out of nowhere i look beneath my feet & this MASSIVE turtle is swimming below me... & I panic. It was about 1 metre long & half a meter wide– the biggest turtle I have EVER seen. Bigger than what i ever imagine a turtle to be! It was HUMONGOUS. Get the picture?

 

 

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Once I was satisfied I had enough pictures to create a makeshift aquarium I hopped out back into the boat. I was getting cold & sore from all of smacking around & knew it was time. If I had to compare this snorkelling stop to our experience with the turtles in Culebra, Culebra wins hands down. There is something about coming across creatures in their natural habitat that cannot be replicated. Should i have not had the experience in Culebra I may have enjoyed this much more. Still not too sure about underwater kung fu fighting though!

 

 

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Back on the boat it was a short trip to our next stop, snorkelling amongst the shipwrecks. For each shipwreck there was an associated story. The only one i remembered had something to do with cocaine (that’s all I’ve got :() I’m embarrassed to say at this point i was too cold to go back into the water. Lame, i know. DH didn’t miss the opportunity & jumped in. He said that he loved it & it was the best snorkelling out of the whole trip! Unfortunately he didn’t take the camera with him so have no images to share.

 

 

Once everyone we were off again, we enjoyed laying back, listening to the sounds of reggae in the background & stories of the rich & famous in Barbados. We went past Sandy Lane, where Tiger Woods was married. During peak season one night costs $3,000 per night for a minimum of 14 nights. To pay golf there, it’s $1,000 per round but there was a minimum of 4 people required to play. We were also told a story (which i still remember) – the cousin of a crewman works at the restaurant there – one night a guest ordered a couple of bottles of wine which he understood, were $1,700 each but were actually $17,000 each. A scene was brewing & another guest close by asked the waiter (the said cousin) what the commotion was about. He explained it to which the guest answered to the likes of: if he wants to pay $1,700 a bottle charge him that & I’ll take care of the rest if it means I could enjoy my meal in peace. So there you have it. Guests at Sandy Lane can afford to pay $30,000 for two bottles of wine that they don’t even drink!!

 

 

Speechless.

 

We arrived at our next destination where we would have lunch, just off a beach which we could swim but deep enough to jump off & have a splash around – our view.

 

 

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It was time to enjoy the spread that Gina had prepared. True to her word almost a year ago she had my requirements down packed. I missed out on the banana bread at the beginning of the day but this lunch certainly made up for it. It was wholesome & tasty! There was chicken, salads & rice. She had even prepared a separate salad of me which I could eat. There was also dessert & was sweet enough to organise a happy birthday tune with a candle to a fellow cruise critic member (happy birthday again!!).

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