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Boten's review: Summit, July 16, 2004 - part 7


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Boten's review: Summit, July 16, 2004 - What took them so long?


part 1 - An idea is formed

part 2 - Preparations

part 3 - Oh, NO!

part 4 - Test Drive

part 5 - The Journey Begins

part 6 - Oh, YES!


July 16, 2004

…It was a long day, full of activities and excitement and it was time to go to sleep. It wasn't a peaceful sleep the first night. We had some difficulties adjusting to the noise and the motion. I also had some very important task to perform.

In the wee hours of night, I woke up and went to the bathroom. The boards were right, there it was, blue light coming out of the toilet and from around the base, giving the bathroom a Spielbergy mood.


July 17, 2004

Sea Day! Dalia woke me up slightly after 7 AM. She told me she's been up at 6 and already explored some more of the ship after having coffee. We showered and went for breakfast at the Waterfall. Our favourite spot for breakfast throughout the cruise was on the balcony port side. A perfect place for the morning coffee and smoke, watching the world sail by.

After breakfast we decided to attend a lecture on Alaska by the ship's naturalist. Forgive me for not being modest at this point, but as we have read a lot preparing for this trip, the lecture had nothing we didn't already know and I could have delivered a more entertaining one.


I also wanted to attend a bridge lesson and Dalia wanted to try the dancing lesson so we parted and went to those activities. Halfway through the lesson I realized that what I really want is just to soak up the views. I decided to go look for Dalia and wait for her dance lesson to finish. As I exited the room, there she was, telling me that what she really want is just to soak up the views.

We decided to retire to our perfect viewing area, our balcony. The scenery is incredible. Big, medium, small and tiny islands pass us by, fishing boats and to top it all a pod of humpback whales and some Orcas.


When it was time for lunch, we went to the spa buffet. They serve salmon and I just had to try that. While it was good, it tasted much like the salmon we are used to at home, mild. I was expecting the strong tasting salmon of the Pacific, but apparently this will have to wait for the land portion of our trip. After lunch we took our afternoon nap. When we woke up we called room service for coffee. After waiting for 30 minutes I called room service again. They said coffee is just on its way. Another 20 minutes passed. I called again. They were very surprised it wasn't delivered yet and told me they'll send it right away. It took almost an hour for the waiter to arrive with our coffee. He apologized for the delay, blaming it on some new room service staff. Right! Exactly where and when did they pick up the new staff? At least we have our coffee now, set up at the table on the balcony, sitting, sipping and seeing.

The phone rang. I picked it. It was the assistant manager for housekeeping, apologizing for the delay and promising me it would never happen again. I thanked him and assured him there was no problem. About two hours later the phone rang again. I picked it. It was guest relations. They were reported about it, they apologized for the delay and promised me it would never happen again. I thanked them too. Certainly such incidents don't go unnoticed and travel up the chain of command. Looks like Celebrity is running a tight ship considering service, and it wasn't the end of it.


It was time to dress up for our first formal night. I think we did OK with a beautiful long black dress and a black suit. About 20 percent of the male passengers wore tux, about 20 percent wore sport jackets and the rest were in dark suits. The real "show" were the ladies we watched waiting in the martini and champagne bar. It ranged from outfits you'd be ashamed to be wearing taking the garbage out to some that looked like they were fit to wear in presence of royalty.

Dinner was festive and generally good. One word to the chef regarding the Escargot, it needs more garlic and more herbs and I'm sure there are some bigger ones, at least there are some here.

After dinner we went to Michael's club to relax with some drinks and we listened to Kim Forman on the piano who sang Jerusalem of Gold for us.

When we returned to our cabin, there was a bottle of wine, a fruit basket and a note from housekeeping, apologizing again for the delay. Good, we'll take the wine with us to the Normandie.


July 18, 2004

We woke up early, had breakfast at our usual spot, overlooking Ketchikan. Lacking experience, we waited to go ashore at 7 am. Only at 7:30 they opened the security gates. We swiped our cards and went ashore.

Our scheduled Misty Fjord flight was at 11, but we have talked with Jim Kosmos of Southeast Aviation before we left home. He was very kind and informative and said he'll inform us about the tide. We walked to the visitor building. As we were looking for his booth, Jim arrived in a van and we all decided to give it a try. Two more couples were picked up and we drove to his office. After paying and using the Tour Saver coupon of "2 for 1" we went outside to the pier. The tide was about 18 feet low. The ramp to the float plane was very, Very, VERY steep. Jim produced a wheelchair and he, with Keith from Pennsylvania - Bless your soul, Keith - lowered me down the ramp, Dalia pulling and slowing the decent from behind and me grabbing the rail to further reduce the speed going down. Everybody was very patient as I finally climbed up the small ladder and into the plane.

We took off, passed near the Summit and continued to Misty Fjord. The scenery is magnificent. We landed on a lake and watched seals and salmon. On the way our pilot pointed to some yellowish spots on a mountainside covered with snow saying they are mountain goats. They were too small to tell (see picture below) but we believed him.


Back at the pier, I climbed the wooden triangles serving as stairs up the ramp while everybody was around me just in case. Jim dropped us near Creek street. We walked some, bought some Alaska T-shirts and trinkets and went to the ship. We had lunch at the Waterfall, watching all the float planes hurrying to bring the passengers back to the ship on time.

After lunch it was again time for our balcony. I relaxed on a lounge chair as the ship sailed out of Ketchikan, falling asleep to the hum of distant planes.

When we woke up we called again for coffee. It arrived after less than 5 minutes, someone has been doing something down there.


At 7:30 pm we went to the Normandie. We got the usual speech everyone gets ("Hours of fine dining…"). Dinner was very good and the presentation was excellent. However, the finely coordinated serving of food comes at a price. The table near us had a dish waiting on the serving tray for some long minutes until other dishes arrived from the kitchen to be served at once. We didn't have that problem, we ordered Chateubriand for two as main course. We had lobster broth and goat cheese souffle for appetizers, the bite-size selection and Sabayon for dessert. I think the guy who made the Sabayon still aches. What hand movements. The Normandie was quite an experience and the food was well above the food at the Cosmopolitan.


July 19, 2004

Again we woke early and watched the ship approaching Skagway. We had a full size car reserved from Avis so as soon as we could, we went ashore and took the shuttle into town.

Avis did not have a full size car for us. Didn't we reserve it months in advance? We did. Didn't we call a week before to verify? We did. They still didn't have a full size car for us. We finally got a mini-van and off we drove to the Yukon and Carcross.

The road is beautiful and the weather is beautiful. Warm and sunny, blue sky, rivers, lakes, snow caped mountains, forests. Stopping many times along the road, it took us about 4 hours to reach Carcross. Not much to see in town and we drove on. On the way we passed the smallest desert. Sorry folks, we have enough desert here, so we didn't stop there. We did stop at the Cinnamon Cache for lunch. The chicken soup was very good, the sandwich was decent and the cinnamon bun tasted like styrofoam. Emerald lake is just gorgeous with the many shades of green and turquoise. We turned back heading for Skagway. The road back is much shorter since we already stopped at the sights.

Arriving back in town, we drove the Dyea road to the overlook on Skagway, wandered around town a little and back to Avis. There was a kid there telling us to wait for the lady to come. She was at the ferry dock waiting for new cars and will be back in about 20 minutes. We didn't want to wait for her so we told him it's no problem, we'll just leave the car with the keys in the ignition at the dock and they can pick it up whenever they want. Magically there was someone to drive us back.

Back at the ship we rested, went to dinner and to the disco at the Revelations for drinks and fun. At 1 AM we went to our cabin, had another vodka, looked at the never ending light and finally went to sleep.


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This is just too bizarre..........I believe we were sitting behind you and Dalia (long blonde hair!) Sunday night in the Normandie for our 7:30 dinner. We had the last table in the corner next to a large porthole. Our view was terrific as we looked out on the calm water. And I agree - dinner was delicious, not rushed and much better than in Cosmopolitan. Our dinner was delayed just a little since my husband had to return to our cabin for sunburn lotion! He had fished all day in Ketchikan - loved it - but never thought about getting too much sun. I'm sure we threw off the serving schedule, but they took it in stride. After our evening meals, we usually went to the back deck where he could enjoy a cigar and we both could have a drink(s) while enjoying the sunsets. Those views were always so beautiful and relaxing.


I'm enjoying your writings so much.


Congratulations on your grandchild..........you're having a great year!


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Boten, thank again for a wonderful review, one of the best I ever pretend to read!


I looked at the picture first, I thought it was a white dog drawn by a little kid, goats, I never would have guessed!


Keep the story coming!

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