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Summit in review 7/15/2005

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:) Critique Summit cruise of 7/15/2005 :)

 

This critique will be broken into several installments (all in this thread) and will include some observations on Celebrity as a corporate entity.

 

This is number one of several.

 

Please note that the views expresses are those of the author and as such are mostly subjective viewpoints based on my own life experiences, lifestyle, likes, dislikes, and personal preferences.

 

That said, and a touch of background. We wife, now 62, me, now 68, came to cruising later in life than most. Our first cruise was on the second leg of RCI’s Radiance of the Seas from Ensenada to Seattle in May 2001. This was a 7 night cruise. The Radiance was truly spectacular. The crew had been culled from RCI’s other ships to provide a memorable experience and be sure that service was impeccable and it was. The ship was new, in excellent shape and there were very few glitches. Everything was beyond our fantasies and expectations. Our next cruise (Oct 2003) was on the Radiance again. This time it was a 15 night cruise from San Diego to Ft Lauderdale via the Panama Canal with stops at Cabo, Acapulco, and Hutulco, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Aruba, and Grand Cayman. The ship was a 2½ years olds and looked brand new. They must have an excellent facilities maintenance program in place.

 

Those in the hospitality business (Marriott, Hilton etc.) do even more.

 

A word on that. Major corporations have facility departments whose job it is to keep the campus looking spiffy. Companies like Xerox and Microsoft ask their employees to call the Facilities Manager if they see anything that needs a touch of paint, cleaning, a burned out light bulb etc. It’s rumored that if Bill Gates sees a blemish on a wall he calls the Microsoft Facilities Manager wants to know why! More on that later.

 

A couple of days after we returned from the canal I received a call from an old friend at Crystal Cruise Lines who asked if I would consider being a guest instructor (Computer) on a 20 day B2B Hawaiian cruise. I said yes and did that in Feb 2004. This Celebrity cruise was then my 5th cruise.

 

Moving on. Everything we did, (including airfare, all transfers, hotels etc.) we did through Celebrity. This included a one night pre-cruise at the Fairmont Waterfront (great hotel, right across the street from the pier).

 

Upon arrival at Vancouver International (an absolutely beautiful airport), we breezed through customs, picked up out luggage (free use of luggage carts) and went in search of a Celebrity agent who then directed us to the pick-up location of the bus that was to take us to the hotel. We turned in our voucher and were told that the next bus would be there in 15 minutes. No big deal! About 20 minutes later the bus arrived. We were then told that this bus did not stop at the Fairmont Waterfront. The last two people to board the bus were staying at the Pan Pacific which was across the street from ours! As the bus pulled out I asked the dispatcher when our bus would arrive and was told “15 minutes”. After 20 minutes I asked the person selling tickets when the bus might arrive. We were again told “15 minutes”. We waited. After about 15 minutes with no bus in sight we grabbed a cab. $32 (American) and about 20 minutes later we were at the hotel.

 

After checking in, we walked a couple of blocks to BC Liquors (name?) on Hastings which is a Province run wine distributor, and bought a couple of bottles of a nice California wine. We then trekked on up to a local drug store and bought a 12-pack of Diet-7Up. We placed the wine & &up into an open top canvass tote that we later carried on-board without a problem. We did not sneak it in nor hide it, not pour it into anything. It was just there for anyone to see, inspect, reject, confiscate or whatever.

 

We had corresponded with another “cruisecritickater” and we decided to meet for a drink which turned out to expand into dinner. A truly delightful experience.

 

We got up on Friday morning at about 5:30 AM, mistakenly believing that he Summit arrived at about 6:00AM. It actually came in at 7:00 AM. (our mistake) It was quite a sight to see it come around Stanley Park and watching it dock. Then back to the hotel to shower and grab some breakfast at a local joint.

 

We called Celebrity to tell them about the bus and cab and were asked to contact guest relations on board and talk to them about it.

 

Later on Friday morning we wandered over to the pier, walked down to the immigration/customs line and planned on waiting there as opposed to anywhere else. We pretty much walked through with the usual and customary stuff on the x-ray machine, all metal objects out of pockets etc. and then continued onto Celebrity’s check-in location. The couple we were with checked in at once, while we were delayed for several minutes because our sea passes had been misfiled. They were found quickly and we were good to go.

 

We found a place to sit and waited around for our rooms to be finished. We noticed that the buffet had opened, and to help pass the time we had lunch on board. (Meal #1) Very nice in appearance, a solid assortment, and tasted great.

 

END OF INSTALLMENT 1:eek:

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Al

 

you are too much, that was a great 1st instalment, can hardly wait for the future instalments. Hopefully you will have finished them by the time we are back on the Summit 0n 9/2:) (we were on the Summit in may 14 day repo from San Diego to Alaska) As you can figure out we kind of like the Alaska cruises.

 

Keep up the good work and I will be anxious to learn if you wore jeans to dinner:D

 

 

Phil

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Probably wore a thong to the formal evenings what do you think ???

 

If he did, I don't want to see it:D Al is 68 and I am 69 and even with my great body, a thong would be just a little too much:rolleyes:

 

 

phil

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OK, on with installment two. Again, please read disclaimers at the start of #1

 

As you read this portion, please bear in mind the Celebrity touts itself as a “premium” cruise line, not just one of the others. In my opinion, a Lexus should, and needs to be, better than a Toyota. They charge more!

 

BTW: Upon arrival at the hotel there was a letter waiting for us that requested we now put the provided luggage tags on our bags and have the bags outside out door on Friday morning by 9:00 or maybe 9:30 AM. We did.

 

Moving on: A little later we went in search of our fabulous “Sky Suite”. (6126)

 

It was nice, modest in size, but nice. The room is done in nice paneling plus a mirror on one wall. That’s an old trick used by builders to make bedrooms look larger than they are. The floor of the veranda was teak (I think) and the veranda itself is large enough for two to sit and relax, and enjoy a cup of coffee, glass of wine, or something else. The bed was exceptionally nice and turned out to be great for sleeping, napping and whatever. The couch was actually a sleeper and had a large (about 6”) round dirt or grease spot on it. The step-in closet was adequate for our hanging needs and there were some drawers in there as well, along with a safe. The room had enough storage space for clothes and stuff. In one corner of the room there was a 20” Phillips TV.

 

The bathroom was small, done in marble, had one sink and a mediocre hand-held European type shower thingy over the tub. I pulled it off the wall the first time I used it. I was able to put it back without calling the butler. The bathroom had the standard sucking type toilet.

 

By comparison to RCI’s Radiance’s suite this one fails to meet the mark. According to one of our dining companions their stateroom on their most recent cruise on Princess (I don’t know what ship) was larger and nicer and cost less. A similar comment was made by someone we met who had cruised on Holland America.

 

As we began unpacking our carry-on bags there was a knock at the door!

 

Gasp, who could it be?

 

It was Celestyna, our cabin attendant from Czechoslovakia. She was sweet polite, had a charming accent and wanted to be sure our room was in good order, and all was well. It was.

 

We continued with the unpacking when suddenly there was yet another knock on the door.

 

Gasp, gasp, who could it be this time? Could it be the dreaded butler ???????

 

I opened the door, and there he was, tall, dressed in tails, looking impressive, and demanding a $100 tip up front, or else! He said one of his past cruisers had set the standard and if we wanted anything, anything at all we’d have to pay the “vig”. (Just kidding, couldn’t resist!)

 

Actually he was, tall, dressed in tails, and looking impressive, and truly well mannered. It was the butler. He graciously introduced himself, and told us that he would be attending to our needs during the cruise. As some of you might recall from a pre-cruise post we are pretty low maintenance kinds of people and had pretty much decided that we would not be using the butler’s services. What we wanted was a little larger room. At the end of his introductory comments he handed me the room service menu and said “I’d like to serve you breakfast in your suite tomorrow morning.” Prior to my retirement, this is what I called the pre-emptive strike. Before I could say “nice to meet you, but we will call if we need anything”, he dropped his line first, and did so in such a nice manner that I felt awkward telling him that we would go to breakfast on our own. He thanked us, we shook hands and he left. Candidly we were not really sure what to do. It seemed that he truly wanted to do this and we did not want to hurt his feelings. We figured that we would probably have breakfast in the room once and be done with it.

 

NO UPFRONT TIP

We then went off exploring. The legendary Martini Bar, overlooking the Rendezvous, the celebrated coffee joint, (pay for coffee, but free goodies) (Oh coffee is free if delivered to the fabulous sky suite). (6126) not free if we save them the expense of the delivery time. Go figure! The thalassotherapy (sp?) pool looked interesting and was, the gym was adequately equipped with treadmills and other equipment, there was a jogging track, a pool with lounges, most of which had a book, flip-flop, old towel and cheap a pair of Wal-Mart sun glasses placed upon it. Most likely leftover from the previous cruise guests. (OK, stuff on lounges not true.)

 

All in all a nice looking ship, not as spectacular as the Radiance, or as elegant as Crystal’s Harmony, but it had its own charm.

 

Did I mention the two long gashes in the fabulous sky suite’s paneling? (6126)

 

I checked out the men’s sauna and shower room. Nicely done. There were sinks, lockable lockers, and an ample supply of nicely rolled towels, disposable razors, small tubes of brushless shaving cream, and three nice shower stalls with frosted glass doors, the center of which had a sign that said. “Out of Order”. I opened one of the “working” shower stalls and saw that it had a very expensive nice shower head. The shower was nicely tiled using small, probably ¾”x ¾” tile. Very pretty. The shower floor used the same tile, but its white grout was heavily intruded upon by black algae or mold or other yucky stuff. This on a ship that was in dry dock a few weeks ago!

 

At the same time Alice checked out the ladies sauna. Apparently nice as well, all shower stalls in working condition, with a professionally done stainless steel looking phone directory on the wall next to a wall mounted phone jack. No phone, just the directory and phone jack. Again, this on a ship that was in dry dock a few weeks ago!

 

Now with all the stuff that I’ve read on these boards of things to take, no one ever mentioned taking along our phone from home.

 

I digress!

 

I’d like to reiterate here what we’re talking about. Celebrity is purported to be the ultra quality cruise line and the Summit has just come out of dry dock. Dry dock is the perfect time to deal with all things big and small. You could close the sauna and steam clean showers, use the strongest mold cleaners know to man, do a power rinse and never worry about inconveniencing a client. If anyone saw the short TV series on the refurbishing of a RCI ship, you know what I mean.

 

If you refer to my first installment I mentioned the “Facility Mangers” that major corps have, and the active program to encourage their employees to be the extra eyes and ears of that department. It is obvious that Celebrity either does not have any such program in place, or if they do, it needs serious attention.

 

We wandered down to the guest relations desk and told the gentleman there about the bus/taxi deal and the $32. He was very polite and apologetic and told me he would look into it.

 

At some point we went back to our fabulous sky suite grabbed our custom fitted, silk lined, midnight blue life jackets (those of us fabulous sky suites got special stuff) (OK, I lied about the life jackets) We grabbed our very stylish orange lifejackets, complete with whistle, and flashing light system, and trotted down to the our appointed mustering station where we were given the standard spiel, and then out on deck to our “place”, along with 150 of our new nearest and dearest who would join is in the tender/lifeboat in the event the Summit made a titanic mistake.

 

Because our fellow 7/15 cruisecritickateers had failed to reach the magical number of 25 to qualify for a gathering, we had set up a Plan B, which was to meet aft of the Waterfall Grille at 5:30. The ship’s departure was delayed till 6:45 from 5:45 and that may have caused some confusion, but no one showed. Alice and I hung out for a while and then went on down to our fabulous sky suite and found that some of our bags had arrived. We began unpacking. At about 6:30 we popped the cork on the champagne (did I mention that we were in a fabulous sky suite and got a FREE bottle of champagne, and that it was iced?) We poured the champagne and stepped out on to our teak deck to enjoy sailaway. It was nice, very nice. Just my honey and me on our way. (OK and 2,000 others)

 

At about 8:30 we trekked off to the dining room. The 5:00 muster and drill and pushed into the early seating time and first night’s seating was a bit chaotic getting the early diners out and the late diners in, but not a big deal. We found our table, met our dining companions and waiter and were set. The selections were just fine, the service was fine (again, first night) the appetizer, salad, and entrée all great. I had been hoping that the desserts would look awful and taste worse. They looked inviting and unfortunately tasted much too good.

 

It was now about 10:30 PM. Thursday had started early for us, Friday, as well, and we figured a good night’s sleep was in order. We walked around just a bit and headed to our fabulous sky suite.

 

The bed/mattress/pillow were all great.

 

More to come.

 

Note to Phil (some folks like my "formal" thong). :eek:

 

Note to GaryNFla Thank you for your kind words :)

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another great instalment of the "great American novel", :D you know i am kidding Al, it does make for a great read. one question tho, will you be through by the time I leave for Alaska???:D

 

Phil

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another great reading segment. I enjoy your humor. I hope i have at least one person at our table with your sense of humor and witt..

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What a great review.

 

Am looking forward to the next installment.

 

Thanks.

 

Pincus

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Thank you for taking us along on your cruise. I've never been on the Summit before!:)

 

I'll be anxiously waiting to find out what we... er... you do next.

 

:D

 

Susan

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I love reading your review. We're leaving on 10/23 on the Summit for the 2 week Panama Canal transit to Ft. Lauderdale. A very different kind of cruise, of course, but it's still the Summit!

 

You did have me going for one split second with the silk lined midnight blue lifejackets!!!:D You're a funny guy!;)

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OK, on with installment two. Again, please read disclaimers at the start of #1

 

As you read this portion, please bear in mind the Celebrity touts itself as a “premium” cruise line, not just one of the others. In my opinion, a Lexus should, and needs to be, better than a Toyota. They charge more!

 

BTW: Upon arrival at the hotel there was a letter waiting for us that requested we now put the provided luggage tags on our bags and have the bags outside out door on Friday morning by 9:00 or maybe 9:30 AM. We did.

 

Moving on: A little later we went in search of our fabulous “Sky Suite”. (6126)

 

It was nice, modest in size, but nice. The room is done in nice paneling plus a mirror on one wall. That’s an old trick used by builders to make bedrooms look larger than they are. The floor of the veranda was teak (I think) and the veranda itself is large enough for two to sit and relax, and enjoy a cup of coffee, glass of wine, or something else. The bed was exceptionally nice and turned out to be great for sleeping, napping and whatever. The couch was actually a sleeper and had a large (about 6”) round dirt or grease spot on it. The step-in closet was adequate for our hanging needs and there were some drawers in there as well, along with a safe. The room had enough storage space for clothes and stuff. In one corner of the room there was a 20” Phillips TV.

 

The bathroom was small, done in marble, had one sink and a mediocre hand-held European type shower thingy over the tub. I pulled it off the wall the first time I used it. I was able to put it back without calling the butler. The bathroom had the standard sucking type toilet.

 

By comparison to RCI’s Radiance’s suite this one fails to meet the mark. According to one of our dining companions their stateroom on their most recent cruise on Princess (I don’t know what ship) was larger and nicer and cost less. A similar comment was made by someone we met who had cruised on Holland America.

 

As we began unpacking our carry-on bags there was a knock at the door!

 

Gasp, who could it be?

 

It was Celestyna, our cabin attendant from Czechoslovakia. She was sweet polite, had a charming accent and wanted to be sure our room was in good order, and all was well. It was.

 

We continued with the unpacking when suddenly there was yet another knock on the door.

 

Gasp, gasp, who could it be this time? Could it be the dreaded butler ???????

 

I opened the door, and there he was, tall, dressed in tails, looking impressive, and demanding a $100 tip up front, or else! He said one of his past cruisers had set the standard and if we wanted anything, anything at all we’d have to pay the “vig”. (Just kidding, couldn’t resist!)

 

Actually he was, tall, dressed in tails, and looking impressive, and truly well mannered. It was the butler. He graciously introduced himself, and told us that he would be attending to our needs during the cruise. As some of you might recall from a pre-cruise post we are pretty low maintenance kinds of people and had pretty much decided that we would not be using the butler’s services. What we wanted was a little larger room. At the end of his introductory comments he handed me the room service menu and said “I’d like to serve you breakfast in your suite tomorrow morning.” Prior to my retirement, this is what I called the pre-emptive strike. Before I could say “nice to meet you, but we will call if we need anything”, he dropped his line first, and did so in such a nice manner that I felt awkward telling him that we would go to breakfast on our own. He thanked us, we shook hands and he left. Candidly we were not really sure what to do. It seemed that he truly wanted to do this and we did not want to hurt his feelings. We figured that we would probably have breakfast in the room once and be done with it.

 

NO UPFRONT TIP

We then went off exploring. The legendary Martini Bar, overlooking the Rendezvous, the celebrated coffee joint, (pay for coffee, but free goodies) (Oh coffee is free if delivered to the fabulous sky suite). (6126) not free if we save them the expense of the delivery time. Go figure! The thalassotherapy (sp?) pool looked interesting and was, the gym was adequately equipped with treadmills and other equipment, there was a jogging track, a pool with lounges, most of which had a book, flip-flop, old towel and cheap a pair of Wal-Mart sun glasses placed upon it. Most likely leftover from the previous cruise guests. (OK, stuff on lounges not true.)

 

All in all a nice looking ship, not as spectacular as the Radiance, or as elegant as Crystal’s Harmony, but it had its own charm.

 

Did I mention the two long gashes in the fabulous sky suite’s paneling? (6126)

 

I checked out the men’s sauna and shower room. Nicely done. There were sinks, lockable lockers, and an ample supply of nicely rolled towels, disposable razors, small tubes of brushless shaving cream, and three nice shower stalls with frosted glass doors, the center of which had a sign that said. “Out of Order”. I opened one of the “working” shower stalls and saw that it had a very expensive nice shower head. The shower was nicely tiled using small, probably ¾”x ¾” tile. Very pretty. The shower floor used the same tile, but its white grout was heavily intruded upon by black algae or mold or other yucky stuff. This on a ship that was in dry dock a few weeks ago!

 

At the same time Alice checked out the ladies sauna. Apparently nice as well, all shower stalls in working condition, with a professionally done stainless steel looking phone directory on the wall next to a wall mounted phone jack. No phone, just the directory and phone jack. Again, this on a ship that was in dry dock a few weeks ago!

 

Now with all the stuff that I’ve read on these boards of things to take, no one ever mentioned taking along our phone from home.

 

I digress!

 

I’d like to reiterate here what we’re talking about. Celebrity is purported to be the ultra quality cruise line and the Summit has just come out of dry dock. Dry dock is the perfect time to deal with all things big and small. You could close the sauna and steam clean showers, use the strongest mold cleaners know to man, do a power rinse and never worry about inconveniencing a client. If anyone saw the short TV series on the refurbishing of a RCI ship, you know what I mean.

 

If you refer to my first installment I mentioned the “Facility Mangers” that major corps have, and the active program to encourage their employees to be the extra eyes and ears of that department. It is obvious that Celebrity either does not have any such program in place, or if they do, it needs serious attention.

 

We wandered down to the guest relations desk and told the gentleman there about the bus/taxi deal and the $32. He was very polite and apologetic and told me he would look into it.

 

At some point we went back to our fabulous sky suite grabbed our custom fitted, silk lined, midnight blue life jackets (those of us fabulous sky suites got special stuff) (OK, I lied about the life jackets) We grabbed our very stylish orange lifejackets, complete with whistle, and flashing light system, and trotted down to the our appointed mustering station where we were given the standard spiel, and then out on deck to our “place”, along with 150 of our new nearest and dearest who would join is in the tender/lifeboat in the event the Summit made a titanic mistake.

 

Because our fellow 7/15 cruisecritickateers had failed to reach the magical number of 25 to qualify for a gathering, we had set up a Plan B, which was to meet aft of the Waterfall Grille at 5:30. The ship’s departure was delayed till 6:45 from 5:45 and that may have caused some confusion, but no one showed. Alice and I hung out for a while and then went on down to our fabulous sky suite and found that some of our bags had arrived. We began unpacking. At about 6:30 we popped the cork on the champagne (did I mention that we were in a fabulous sky suite and got a FREE bottle of champagne, and that it was iced?) We poured the champagne and stepped out on to our teak deck to enjoy sailaway. It was nice, very nice. Just my honey and me on our way. (OK and 2,000 others)

 

At about 8:30 we trekked off to the dining room. The 5:00 muster and drill and pushed into the early seating time and first night’s seating was a bit chaotic getting the early diners out and the late diners in, but not a big deal. We found our table, met our dining companions and waiter and were set. The selections were just fine, the service was fine (again, first night) the appetizer, salad, and entrée all great. I had been hoping that the desserts would look awful and taste worse. They looked inviting and unfortunately tasted much too good.

 

It was now about 10:30 PM. Thursday had started early for us, Friday, as well, and we figured a good night’s sleep was in order. We walked around just a bit and headed to our fabulous sky suite.

 

The bed/mattress/pillow were all great.

 

More to come.

 

Note to Phil (some folks like my "formal" thong). :eek:

 

Note to GaryNFla Thank you for your kind words :)

The Thong is over but the mammary lingers on ???

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Installment Three

 

When last we left Alice & Al they were preparing for bed.

 

Alice, “Honey, we need to do this tonight.”

 

Al, “I really don’t feel like it.”

 

Alice, “Al, I don’t want to do this, myself, I want to do it together, it won’t take long, and then we won’t have to bother with it again for the rest of the trip.”

 

Al, “OK, if you insist.”

 

And so we looked at the room service menu, made our selections, circle the time, hung it on the outside of the door and went to sleep.

 

I got up about 6:30 AM on Saturday, grabbed my super deluxe terrycloth robe (available only in fabulous suites), razor, and shaving cream and headed for the men’s sauna. Goop on the floor and all it was likely to be a better shower than in the bathroom of our fabulous sky suite. Upon stepping into the shower stall I found that the adjustable shower head was “frozen” in one position, but luckily it was a fine needle spray that I like. I had a really great long hot shower, shaved, and donned my super deluxe terrycloth robe (available only in fabulous suites), and headed back to 6126.

 

At about 7:30 AM Darryl, our Butler, called to let us know he was on his way with our breakfast. He arrived, set the small table, placed the goodies on it, set the coffee pot on the bed, and thanked us. He went on to tell us he would be back at about 3:00 PM with tea and goodies, and then again at 5:00 with hors d’oeuerves. Sheesh, he had done it again. We said nothing and he left. We figured we would grab a late morning cup of coffee at about 11:00, lunch about 1:00 or so, tea & goodies at 3:00, hors d’oeuerves at 5:00 and then have a 3½ hour span until dinner with no food. Whatever would we do?

 

As we were about to leave the phone rang. It was a call from the guest relations department. The young lady, who I later discovered was a trainee, told me that I would be receiving a $25 credit to my account to cover the cab ride and apologized for the inconvenience at the airport. She asked it that would be OK. I said NO. I paid $32 and I expected $32, not $25. She explained that $32 Canadian is about $25 American and that was how they reached their decision. I explained that I lived in California, was a United States Citizen, and did not carry anything other than good old US dollars. She was stunned. I told her that I expected another $7 and would not settle for only $25. Ha! She said she would have to call me back.

 

Note to Celebrity: Don’t try to pull that kind of cra* with your paying guests. You have all of my info, including passport, address, city, and state of residence. It’s not as if you don’t know I’m American and the cab ride was from the airport where I deplaned on a flight that Celebrity arranged. Further, the person making the call should have the authority to deal with it.

 

Again, I’ve digressed. My Apologies

 

We wandered around, getting more acquainted with the ship, the showroom, the movies, the gift shops etc.

 

Found something verrrrrrrry interesting. The aft deck, just aft of the Waterfall Grille is a nice place to look straight back, out over the ocean. In the event you happen to glance down a deck or two or three you see a portion of the veranda protruding, the portion where the rail for that veranda is, the spot where a couple might stand to look out over the water, or to hmmmmmm.

 

We met friends for lunch at the buffet and enjoyed the food, the company, the room, and the view. Summit has got this nailed. They’ve done a great job here.

 

A little later it was off to the T-Pool. It’s neat. Salt water (diluted down so as not to be irritating to the eyes.) There’s a nice pulsating type of wave action. There are two very wide sets of metal tubes set up in a contour chair position that will hold probably 8 people each, four interesting inverted “J” pipes about 8 feet high that have hot water pouring out that you can stand under and direct water to your head, neck, shoulders etc. Very nice! Go Celebrity! After being there for a while a 40ish woman came in with her early teen daughter. Very quickly, two security officers appeared, walked to the edge of the pool and asked the teenager to leave. The mother objected and was politely told that no one under 18 was allowed. They left. Yeah Celebrity!

 

OK, soak in the hot tub, rest in the nice teak chairs, shower in the goopy shower and back to the room by 3:00. Don’t want to miss tea time. Had tea, took a nap and was up by 5:00 PM for hors d’oeuerves.

 

Alice put on her dazzling outfit. (I clearly married up!) I pulled the rental tux out of the closet, put it one, and off we went to dinner. It was nice. Most of the men were wearing tuxes, some wore dark suits, a small few wore sport jackets and ties, except for one guy in a black sequined wife beater, dark khaki chinos, hung low with the rear cleavage showing, and Dockers with no socks. (OK, last guy is a lie!)

 

Selection again was fine, food was great and the service was what you would expect. First night rush and chaos was past. Our waiter had a very nice soft accent, and was very gracious. Our assistant waiter was great as well. We noticed that the menus themselves looked a bit shop-worn, instead of clean and crisp. As we stood talking to another couple after dinner we noticed that some of the dining room chairs were in less than in good condition. Nothing critical, but just not sharp.

 

Off to the show. Celebrity has some really great entertainment.

 

And then to sleep. Perchance to dream. We cleverly “forgot” to place our breakfast order.

 

Sunday AM

 

Breakfast with friends at the buffet. Then off the ship to see the sights of Ketchikan. Cute city. Neat, clean, almost Disney like. Found a cybercafé (this is discussed on another thread), bought a card for $5 and used their computers instead of Celebrity’s. Spent a few $’s on essentials and then back on the ship for lunch and away we sailed.

 

Celebrity handles exiting the ship very efficiently. Reboarding is equally smooth.

 

We went over to the Guest Relations desk to ask about my $7 and were told that it would be applied to my account.

 

Thank you Celebrity.

 

We were in our room at 3:00 for tea and I told our butler that we would like to discontinue the tea and other daily services. He took it well.

 

Took a nap, got up wandered around, lots to see at sea. Weather is great. No rain, moderate temps.

 

Later wandered up (extra super deluxe, suite only, robe in hand, whoops, I mean wearing the robe), to the sauna and took a shower. This time used the other shower stall and found its shower head frozen in the needle shower position as well. Don’t care; I love the needle shower and lots of hot water. Slipped on my fantastic extra deluxe, one size fits most, available only to suite cruisers, extra heavy terry cloth robe) and off to the legendary 6126, hoping not to see my butler on the way.

 

Again, I want to be sure that I’m clear. I (we) have nothing against butlers, it’s just that we are really pretty low maintenance kinds of people. On a related manner, I think the folks next door, in their very own fabulous sky suite, have confused the definition of butler with slave.

 

Dressed, wandered, ate, saw a show, and headed for our fabulous sky suite again. Immediately upon entering I checked to be sure the robe was still there.

 

Monday

 

Got up. You know the drill (shave cream, razor, robe, up to sauna, back to room etc.) On the way back to the room I passed a guy who must have fallen on hard times. He only had a regular robe. Not a super fluffy, ultra-high thread count, soft, and absorbent, one size fits most, pure white with “Celebrity” embroidered in blue on the chest terry cloth for suites only robe. His was just an adsorbent cloth of some kind. I sensed robe envy, but said nothing and continued to my ever so fabulous sky suite, sans butler.

 

I’m embarrassed to admit this but…I called the butler and asked if he could provide us with a box lunch for four. We were going to take the White Pass train ride at 12:45, making lunch on-board iffy. Our friends were without a butler so we asked ours to handle lunch. Boy were we pushy or what?

 

Got dressed, had breakfast, put on a jacket and left the ship to explore Skagway. Found the cyber café, did a spam check, and off to spend a buck or two at local shops. Then back to the ship. At about 11:00 AM we found two tuna sandwiches, two turkey sandwiches and some chips, ready for us in our fabulous 240+sq feet + teak veranda sky suite. Wow!

 

12:45 Monday; braved the crowds of multiple excursions going to different places and got to the train. Neat! Comfortable! Off we went chugging through town, on to the out skirts, and then up this one big mother of a mountain. The magnitude of the construction project to build this track and its bridges and clear the switchback is almost unimaginable. Groups of three men were suspended by ropes in the dead of winter from the side of the mountain. The guy in the middle held a drill of some kind between his legs while the other two hit it with sledge hammers to drill into the side of the mountain. It shows you who you your friends are. If one of those guys (man with sledge) misses, man in middle will have no need for the fabled thong! Whew! We ate lunch on board and had a good time. A great trip. Well worth it

 

Got back pretty close to 5:00 PM. You know, grab robe, off to sauna, shower, robe, back to room. Neither shower had been cleaned. The out of order one was still out of order. Nap, dinner, and show. Bedtime.

 

Tuesday.

 

Got up, robed, trekked up, showered, shaved, trekked back, dressed, (flannel shirt) breakfasted, and put on my heavy Cleveland Indians baseball jacket (don’t ask), and grabbed my gloves. Alice had bought an Alaskan style wool cap with ear warmers the day before. She wore that along with her ski parka, and multi layered thermal underwear, shirt, sweatshirt underneath and we left the ship. Our helicopter awaited our arrival. The Mendenhall Glacier by helicopter trip in Juneau is absolutely GREAT. If you can only do one shore excursion, do the glaciers. Do not miss this trip.

 

Upon getting back to the ship we had lunch in the dining room. Great service. We were seated at a table that had a chair that at some point in time apparently had a decoration or large button sewed into the front portion of the chair back. It had pulled out so long ago that the chair had about a 1½” hole and the surrounding area was ripped, shabby, and very shop worn. Another chair at the table was soiled. As we left we noticed others. This is not the sign of good maintenance. Again, this ship had been in dry dock only weeks before.

 

I had previously noticed that the door closer for the public men’s room on the starboard side of the ship on deck five near the Cosmopolitan restaurant worked only some of the time. So if you’re wearing a thong, you’ll have an audience. Right next to the urinal in the men’s room are two phillips head screws in the wall. I’m guessing something used to be there, but is no more.

 

Late Tuesday afternoon we went to the Guest Relations Desk again. I told them about the showers in the men’s sauna. Alice told them about the phone in the ladies sauna. The guest relations person replied “It’s not easy to just have a phone installed!” I told her actually it is very easy in view of the fact the phone jack is there and all it needs is a phone plugged in. We told her about the chairs in the dining room and she asked where in the dining room. I suggested that she ask the restaurant staff to check the chairs instead of a guest.

 

Napped, showered dined, showed (see note) and wandered. Great Day! Alaska is a super vacation location.

 

(This is the note to see) At the end of the show the cruise director announce that we would be tendering on Wednesday morning instead of docking and all we need to do was come down to the Celebrity Theater on Wednesday AM and with to be called to tender. Seemed simple enough. A large comfortable area to sit in and wait until called for the tender. Good plan.

 

As we returned to our magnificently fabulous sky suite featuring a teak deck, tastily furnished with two deck chairs and a table and a soiled couch inside we found an envelope containing two priority boarding passes available only to suites, and a note tell us to go to Michael’s Club. Not the Celebrity Theater like the regular folks, but to the hush-hush special for suites only secret place.

 

Man, not only do we have two (did I mention that Alice also had a super fluffy, ultra-high thread count, soft, and absorbent, one size fits most, pure, white with “Celebrity” embroidered in blue on the chest terry cloth for suites only robe) robes, but we had priority boarding.

 

I took the envelope and walked far down the all and knocked on the door of the guy who was wearing the cheap robe. When he opened the door to his non-suite lodging, I showed him the note and asked him asked him if he knew where Michael’s Club was. He seemed to be not amused. I beat it back to the suite and went to bed

 

========

More to come.

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We had the same sky suite with butler on the millie last summer...alas we did not get the the fabulous robes you did...we got cheesy motly old terry cloth robes like you would get at a second rate hotel...so we lost out on the one great perk...you were soooo lucky.

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We are down to seven weeks and counting and I am getting more excited about our trip by the day. Reading about your experience is just the kind of thing we need to increase our expectation. Keep it coming.

Incidentally, I don't think you mentioned the type of stateroom you have. Did you get a chance to look at the suites when you were on board? (You know a quick peak through the door when they are being serviced.) I believe they are really good, especially the ones with the extra special robes and butlers. You should try them - you sound like the kind of guy that would really appreciate it.

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I was on the Summit for its first Alaska cruise of the season in May and also had a Sky Suite,but a different one. I. too, noticed significant maintenance issues in both my suite and in the public areas. My carpet was filthy, with large stains (probably coffee) all around the cocktail table. The furniture was chipped and scratched and the sofa had a large greasy stain (food stain of some sort). As you noted, this ship had just come out of dry dock. I thought about writing Celebrity but figured they probably knew about the maintenance issues and had, for whatever reason, decided to ignore them in the last drydock. It appeared to me that the drydock must have been devoted to constructing new profit centers-the acupuncture clinic and computer learning center, for example, and aesthetic matters were largely ignored.

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You are an excellent writer with a good sense of humor and I'm enjoying your review, however, I'm wondering if you had time to enjoy the cruise. You must have spent most of your time taking notes.

 

Were you very disappointed to find that there were lots of people in CC class who had the same robes as you and many others with priority tender passes as well? Most people don't wear their robes out of the cabin so maybe you never discovered that there were many others.;)

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You are an excellent writer with a good sense of humor and I'm enjoying your review, however, I'm wondering if you had time to enjoy the cruise. You must have spent most of your time taking notes.

 

Were you very disappointed to find that there were lots of people in CC class who had the same robes as you and many others with priority tender passes as well? Most people don't wear their robes out of the cabin so maybe you never discovered that there were many others.;)

 

Thanks for the kind words. Everything here is from memory, no notes. What's kind of funny is that we always carry a new steno notebook along with us when we travel and each night make notes of the memorable events and things of that day. If it a fly & drive vacation we enter our daily expenses as well. This trip, we took the pad & wrote absolutley nothing! First time.

 

Now then about the CC robes, well mine was fluffyier, and I just know (hope) that the CC'ers get the older ones and the suite people get the new ones. ;)

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You really do have a way with words. It's really nice of you to take the time to write such an entertaining description of your cruise. Thanks:)

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I could be wrong, but I'm reasonably certain that there are only 2 grades of robes ... the fluffier for CC and above ... and "regulation" for those below. I happen to absolutely love the regular waffle-weave one without all the fluff! So much, in fact, that I bought one on our last trip. Great robe and not to bulky. The one thing I need no more of is bulk or fluff;) .

 

I continue to enjoy this review. Slomotion, you're getting funnier and funnier. I can picture almost everything:D

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We had Celestyna as a cabin attendant in May, and she told us she was from Poland. I even tried a little of my Polish with her that I learned from my Polish friends as a teenager.

Bruce

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