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alolewis

Summit Alaska June 18 Cruise Tour Review (long)

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Celebrity Cruise Line Summit Cruise/Tour Alaska 6/18/04

 

First of all I enjoyed my vacation very much and any comments or suggestions are minor in nature and did not ?spoil? the vacation experience. I had a great time and looking forward to the next.

 

I received our cruise and tour documents about three weeks prior to the cruise tour from my travel agent. Everything was in order except I found some conflicting information, page 11 said ?You will need to claim any luggage upon arrival?, but on the transfer vouchers it stated that ?you do NOT have to claim your luggage?, this is not the only time documents from Celebrity were in conflict of each other.

 

Transfer to the pier was uneventful, waited maybe 20-30 minutes for the bus, lots of people waiting but handled very efficiently. Boarding was also uneventful, first security screening, picture taking (which we never did see the boarding pictures ? seems odd to take the pictures but not try to sell them to us), check-in at the Celebrity counter, document screening then US immigration. Celebrity had punch, coffee, cookies, sandwiches, etc. in the waiting room. Boarded the Summit about 1 pm with a welcome reception; a glass of champagne and escorted to our stateroom (9050 ? CC class). A buffet Lunch was being served in the Waterfall Café. Bottle of champagne in the room (CC class benefit), wine and snacks from our Travel Agent (Thanks Shelly). Pre-booked shore excursion tickets and dinner table assignment card in the room when we arrived. Toured some of the public rooms, made a reservation for dinner for Sunday in the Normandie Restaurant, toured the Spa.

 

Set sail on time and the first night dinner met our table companions. Two empty seats at the table and discovered that our absent couple missed their plane and met up with the ship at first Port of Call ? Ketchikan. They said they had arranged air travel trough Celebrity and Celebrity took care of getting them to Ketchikan, gave them two-nights accommodations and awarded them a generous shipboard credit.

 

Weather was hot for almost the entire cruise un-seasonally hot in the 70?s and 80?s at times. Most people, including me were unprepared, only took one pair of shorts, a couple of short sleeve shirts, etc. Celebrity was very flexible, when the weather was warm put more pool chairs out, switched from hot chocolate to punch and cool towels on the dock when returning from shore excursions, etc.

 

Biggest mistake in booking the cruise was going CC class and having a stateroom with the veranda, mistake in that we loved it and probably won?t be able to get away with less on future cruises. Ordered breakfast in the stateroom most mornings and ate out on the veranda. Something romantic about having breakfast on the veranda watching the Alaska scenery going by. Used the in-room menus for breakfast and one day requested Eggs Benedict even though not on the menu, delivered with no questions. Breakfast always delivered at the time requested.

 

Lunch varied; sometimes we ate in the Waterfall Café, sometimes Waterfall Grill, sometimes Spa café, sometimes at the Pool grill. Never did eat breakfast or lunch in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant which was open seating. Food in the alternate restaurants was good but not memorable. At the pool grill could get hamburgers but not cheese burgers, cheese was available but they did not grill the burger with the cheese and get the cheese melted, just put a slice of cold cheese on the hamburger, minor issue of course. Waterfall Café had plenty of fruit and salad selections along with the buffet of the day. Spa café was good, interesting just to go by and see the daily selections, always an interesting combination.

 

Favorite snack place was the ice cream parlor, open every day from noon till 6 PM, usually 6 ? 8 flavors available of homemade ice cream, A very popular place with the high temperatures this cruise experienced (I think I hit it every day of the cruise)

 

Dinner was in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant, waiter was Dimor, asst waiter Nicole. We were at table 405, main seating (early) which is aft, by the windows and next to the Captains Table, who never ate there during the main seating but on the formal night another Officer hosted the Captains?s table. It was nice being able to see the sea while eating. Both Dimor and Nicole did their job very well and were a delight to talk to. Dimor made several recommendations for dinner selections, which worked out well; he has good taste in the food. Service was impeccable. One night we were told our table would be hosted by the Environmental Officer but he never showed but they still served the wine he was going to host, a different wine with each course. The only comment I have on the food was I would have preferred more local dishes such as Alaska Halibut, Alaska Crab, and some wild game instead of the standard menus. Still, there was ample variety and presentation was stunning. We did not try any of the other food venues such as the ?lite bites? at night nor the ?midnight buffet?. The only room service we used was for breakfast.

 

Our cabin was nice, a CC class on deck 9. The overhang of deck 10 did not bother us as in Alaska we were not planning on sunbathing out there. There was ample closet space and 6 drawers so we unpacked completely. Since we were CC class we had fresh flowers in the stateroom and the bathroom, a fruit bowl (apples, pears, bananas and grapes) and the daily Canapés at 5 PM every night. Nice touches. We also had the pillow menu but we both were fine with the standard pillows on the bed when we arrived. Cabin attendant was very good, invisible as they are trained to be. I preferred to meet him so I went out and search for him and introduced myself, he knew right away which cabin I was in. He did shine my shoes one day. Stateroom was always clean and well stocked with soap, Shampoos, lotion, etc. I never had to ask for anything from the cabin attendant, had everything we needed.

 

The entertainment was enjoyable. We saw several shows of the Celebrity Dancers and Singers in the Celebrity Theater; the dancers and singers were very good. I attended one lecture by the onboard Naturalist, watch his other lectures on the close circuit television in the stateroom. In addition to the daily ship?s newspaper listing the day?s activities, at the Guest Service Desk they had a small daily summary of the news published by the New York Times. The ship also had an Internet Café, but I never used it as my wife banned me from checking e-mail or web surfing during the trip.

 

We also went to a cooking demonstration, which was fun, the chef, did a good job; they taught how to make steak and a sauce plus how to make a martini and a lecture on wines. They passed out samples of the meat and sauce, martinis and wine so it was worth it solely for that reason. Susan took in the gym a couple of times and enjoyed the sauna. I ran on a couple of occasions on the track that is located on the top deck; can get crowded early in the day. We did not participate in most other activities but the Summit had plenty to keep you busy; bingo, trivial contests, passenger talent contest, etc.

 

Our favorite activity on board was sitting in the disco watching the scenery go by, saw many whales from there. Sometimes, I felt rude in that most others were not paying attention to the entertainment in the Disco but watching for whales instead. We also used the Thalassotherapy pool and spas daily. Even though sign restricted the spa pool to those over 18, saw many kids in the spa. I mentioned it to the guest service desk and from then on saw ship?s security periodically enforcing the rule.

 

The ship was very clean. I served in the US Navy for 22 years and thought the Navy was obsessive with cleaning; the Navy isn?t even close to cleanliness standards of Celebrity. Someone was always cleaning somewhere; even saw a cabin attendant cleaning the ceilings in the staterooms. The public areas were very clean, particularly the public restrooms, the only comment I have is that the toilet seats in most if not all of the public restrooms on the seats had chipped paint. Each time you left the ship you had to put your door key into a machine which recorded that you left, when you returned you put all carry ones through an x-ray machine, walked through a metal detector, and entered your door key into a machine, similar to security at an airport. The ship also had waterless hand cleaner at the entrance and requested everyone clean their hands when returning to prevent the spread of disease. We always did but noticed that handcleaning was not enforced.

 

We used the Thalassotherapy pool daily. The warm salt water felt good and the pool had metal racks to lie on while the water bubbles came up around you. There were two spas in the Thalassotherapy pool, which we also enjoyed. We only used the outdoor pool once or twice but did use the outdoor spas on occasion when the indoor spas were crowded. The pool butlers always had lots of fresh towels and blankets available. There is a statue of a male lying next to the outdoor pool. Everyday he was different, some days he had a pillow under his head, cool days a blanket over him, etc. It was a cute touch.

 

Debarkation was easy, we were given baggage tags and a card with a time and location to congregate (ours was 8:30 am in the Celebrity Theater), a little after 8:30 a crew member came and escorted all those with the same cards off the ship where we met our tour guide for the land portion on the cruise tour.

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