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Summit Review


phtktz3

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We took our first Celebrity cruise to Alaska aboard the Summit 09-09-05

While we have sailed many times and once before to Alaska, it was our first time on Celebrity. I was with my parents and my 19 yr. old son.

Flew into Seattle and took a limo to Vancouver to the cruise terminal. The ride was about 3 hours long, but very enjoyable and comfortable. We arrived at the port about 3pm. I had the Xpress pass I had printed out before I left home but it was not even needed as we were the only ones checking in at that time. There were plenty of open booths to step up to so check-in was a breeze. From limo to ship it was only about a 10 minute process. Upon boarding there was the complimentary champagne available that I had heard about, however, there was no escort to our room...no big deal to us at all...just that I had read that there would be.

Once we arrived in our stateroom 7041 we were excited as it was our first balcony cabin ever, it was spacious and had all the whistles and bells we expected. The beds were together so we asked our cabin steward to seperate them for us, at this time I also asked for an extra pillow and asked Juan (our attendant) to make sure that I had at least one can of coke every morning to take with me to breakfast, I told him he could take everything else out of the mini bar and just stock it with 7 cans of coke, unfortunetly I had to look for him on 3 seperate mornings to get me a can of Coke, not a big deal, but not a great impression from him either. We were only in our cabin for a few minutes when our luggage arrived so we immediately started to unpack until it was time for the muster drill. The drill was quick and painless and we started to sail away before it was even over. We went back to our cabins and got ready for our early seating for dinner. We met our table mates who were 2 couples traveling together and this was their first cruise. The dining room was beautiful with the floor to ceiling window at the back. We met our waiter, Jesus, and he turned out to be divine! After dinner it was finally time to explore this ship. I was very impressed with the decor (the art was a bit strange) this was indeed a beautiful ship! The emporium had more shops than any other ship I have been on and they were very nice. It was lucky for us the Summit had only one more sailing thru Alaska left for the season so everything was 50% off. If it had the word Alaska on it you got it really cheap! We found this to be true also in the ports we visited. I only attended one of the shows, it was the Broadway show and it was very good. My son was the only teenager abord this ship and I felt a bit sorry for him on sea days...there just really was nothing for him to do. We had brought along a portable DVD player for the flight up to Seattle and at the time I had asked him why he was bringing so many DVD's with him...as it turns out it was a good thing he did as he spent a lot of time watching it. This was his 4th cruise in one year so he is not new to cruising, but this was the first time he was amoung folks so much older than him. He never complained once about it. He was just happy to be in Alaska again.

Ports.....

Juneau----We had been here before and loved it so we were excited. My stepmom and I had booked the floattrip down the river to the Mendenhall Glacier and my son and dad had booked the Glacier and Gardens tour. Our tours were scheduled thru the ship and we were to be on the pier at 10:30am. The ship was not cleared until 11:15am and we were not able to get off until 11:30am. I was not worried tho since we had booked thru the ship I knew they would wait....NOT! There were 2 other ships in port that same day with people booked on these same tours so they left as scheduled. Things were a bit unorganized at the pier so once we finally found someone from Celebrity to confirm for us that we had indeed missed the tour and all the others were booked for the day we were quite disappointed. We were assured that the amount for the tours would be credited to our seapass account by the end of the day. This was fine except now we have 10 hours in Juneau and no plan. We walked around and sulked a bit and then on a whim we decided to book a private tour thru one of the stands by the ship. This turned out to be a huge blessing. For the low low price of $115.00 for a 2 hour tour the four of us piled into a van and our driver took us to places in Juneau we would have never seen thru a ships tour. The highlight of this tour was a small chapel on the grounds of the University that is built facing Auke Lake with Mendenhall Glacier in front of it. Behind the pulpit at the front of the chapel is a floor to ceiling window facing the Lake and the Glacier the entire width and hieght of the building, the chapel only seated 60 people and I do not know how the minister ever kept anyones attention with that view behind him. There was in the back of the church an offering plate that was full of money (which we contributed to) and I couldn't help but think how nice it would be to live in a place like this where the door was always open and the money was always there with no threat of some crackhead stealing it. This chapel was truly mesmerising, my son announced as we were leaving that when he gets married some day it will be here. Upon returning to our cabins we found a message from the excursions desk, the young lady apologized profusely and went on about how she knew that us missing our tour had to have ruined our day(not at all the case!) and that they had credited our accounts not only for these tours we missed but they also comped us for our tours in Sitka! Honestly the apology was enough but Celebrity went above and beyond which is what we have come to appreciate about this cruiseline. Later that day we went to the Exploations desk and made sure she knew how appreciated that was and also mentioned this on our comment cards.

Skagway---We had also been here before. The last time we did the White Pass railway so this time it was the dog musher camp. We all loved this tour and learned a great deal about the dogs and the mushers who race in the Iditorod.

Hubbard Glacier---This was a beautiful place. The only drawback was that while we were on deck for some reason Celebrity chose to blare Caribbean music from the pool deck that could be heard all over outside, for me part of the ambiance of the glaciers is the complete quite except for the sounds of the calving, I really was disappointed with this. This was the only day they were playing music out there. Once the ship started to rotate we went to our cabins to enjoy the views from our balconies. This was, as it turns out, the only we used our balcony.

Sitka---This was our first visit to Sitka, we took the Russian American tour. This was a nice tour and we really enjoyed the Russian folk dancers. The Cathedral was much smaller than I had imagined and we did not spend much time there.

Debarkation---unfortunetly this was a mess! The night before they had given my parents a different color than my son and I so we got that straightened out, and since we were traveling back to Seattle we were suppose to be in the first group off at 7:45am. We met in the lounge by 7:30am as we were instructed and we waited and waited, we have cruised many times before and know that this can happen, but usually there is a crew member or an announcement every now and then to let you know what is happening. Fianlly at 8:30am a crew member entered our lounge, but still would not give any info. When asked what was happening he said that they knew they would be delayed at the terminal the night before and that we would not be cleared on time this is when people started to get upset. If you know ahead of time why not announce this to the pax so anyone who has limos/friends/vans whatever picking them up can make some calls and let folks know we will be delayed. As it turned out our color was 4th down the list to be called so we finally got off the ship about 9:20am.

Overview---Celebrity was a wonderful cruiseline and the Summit was a great ship. I will cruise with Celebrity again but not until my son is 21 so he can enjoy himself as well. We normally cruise RCCL and there is just much more for him to do on those ships at his age.

Service--was the best I 've had on any ship.

Food---was great. No complaints here, in fact I do not normally spend much time in the buffet but this one was really good.

If anyone has any specific questions ask away.

One final thought: I loved the Cirque experience as did my parents. I thought the Bar at the Edge of the Earth was beautiful. The Masquerade Ball was a hoot, people wore everything from toga's to bathrobes and made some of the coolest masks...we brought ours from home. As long as you go into this knowing it is not a show but more like an interactive experience and with an open mind you'll enjoy it. My dad is 67 and he wanted no part of it at first...next thing you know he is buying a mask at the door and enjoying himself.

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Thanks for your honest review. I'm glad you enjoyed Celebrity despite the fact that your son's activities were limited. I've sailed only Summit and I'm sold on her!

 

Do you know why the ship knew it was to be late in Juneau and Seward, if that's where you disembarked? I mean were there some mechanical problems that made it have to travel more slowly or what?

 

Were Juneau, Skagway and Sitka your only ports of call? No Icy Strait Point or Ketchikan?

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Thanks for your honest review. I'm glad you enjoyed Celebrity despite the fact that your son's activities were limited. I've sailed only Summit and I'm sold on her!

 

Do you know why the ship knew it was to be late in Juneau and Seward, if that's where you disembarked? I mean were there some mechanical problems that made it have to travel more slowly or what?

 

Were Juneau, Skagway and Sitka your only ports of call? No Icy Strait Point or Ketchikan?

Sorry I should have clarified, we sailed round trip out of Vancouver. Ports of call were Juneau, Skagway, Hubbard Glacier and Sitka. I don't know what the probelms were in Juneau or back in Vancouver. My only thought in Juneau was that there were 2 other ships in port at the same time so maybe that is what took longer for us to clear. I must admit that I could put all I know about what a ship has to do to clear in a port into the palm of my hand(which is very little).

I really loved the Summit too and I will sail on her again I'm sure.

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Hey phtktz3! Glad to see someone from our cruise has posted a review. We've been so busy since returning home that we haven't even considered posting one. Really enjoyed meeting everyone at the CC party.

 

I can see where your son would be bored on the Summit. We really enjoyed the ship and her layout but much of the rest of the cruise experience was somewhat underwhelming to us. The Inside Passage and our ports of call were unbelievable. But the overall Celebrity experience isn't what it's cracked up to be.

 

We found the food to be really no better than RCCL, Norwegian or even Carnival. The exception would be the Normandie which was great.

 

Service was efficient but not overwhelmingly great. Our server, Mustafa and his assistant Nelay were good but no better than we've had on other cruises. Our cabin steward Jeffery was efficient but nothing else.

 

We did find the cruise director John to be engaging and pretty cool. Spoke with him at length a couple of times including a fun time the last evening at the sushi bar. He just wouldn't offer us a bite of that Key Lime pie (lol).

 

The only real benefit of our aft Concierge Class room was the tremendous balcony and the really nice room service breakfast menu. Otherwise, really not worth the extra $$.

 

Really enjoyed a nightly martini (or two) in the Martini Bar from Enrique, the star of our cruise. What a great young man. Did like the capraihinas available in the bars. My first time to try cacha and really liked it.

 

Debarkation wasn't horrible for us until we waited over two hours for a taxi to take us to our hotel for a final night in Vancouver. The wait was certainly not Celebrity's fault and things just went downhill from there as our reservation at the Sheraton Wall Centre was not honored because the were overbooked. Gee, I thought only Southwest Airlines did that. The Sheraton did put us up at the Pan Pacific and the folks there were GREAT. We ended up back across the street from the Fairmont Waterfront and our favorite bartender Frank.

 

Would I sail Celebrity again? Probably not anytime soon. My limited experience with only one cruise on the line may not be a fair test but for my hard-earned money, RCCL and certain Carnival ships offer just as pleasing a cruise experience.

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BTW, we too really enjoyed the Cirque experience. Didn't go to the White Night but did go to the full "Experience" on the last formal night and enjoyed it from one of the beds at the front of the room. On nights when the room was just a disco, we thought the music mix was cool and really got into watching people out on the dancefloor.

 

Something that we found to be the biggest disappointment was the Captain's Welcome Gala. We personally didn't think the free glass of "champagne" as you entered for the show in the showroom constituted much of a welcome. On other cruiselines, we've enjoyed the experience of the "mingle" in a lounge or in the atrium while being served your choice of libations from the server's tray. It's neat to see everyone in their finest on that first formal night.

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