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Mark Lindsay

Age: 72

Occupation:Retired

Number of Cruises: 12

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Summit

Sailing Date: April 19th, 2002

Itinerary: Panama Canal

This was our 12th cruise but first on Celebrity. Our previous cruises were on: RCI (4);Princess (3); HAL (1); NCL (1); and Costa (2).

In a nut shell, we loved Celebrity Summit but did not care for the ports of call Prior to our cruise we flew from Raleigh NC to Jacksonville FL, rented a car and toured around Tampa and Orlando before driving to Ft. Lauderdale. We stayed at the Amerisuites, Plantation Blvd. where the manager recommended dinner at "15th Street Fishery". What a wonderful meal with a great view of the harbor.

On sailing day, we quickly checked in the car with Hertz and had a fast shuttle ride to the dock. Embarkation was not crowded so we were in our room within 20 minutes. Our Cat. 2C outside w/balcony was large, clean and attractive. The bathroom was modern with a larger than average shower. Towels were fluffy. Storage space was ample to handle the large wardrobe we brought for the 14 day cruise.

A tour of the ship revealed a tastefully designed lobby that is not as spectacular as the soaring ones of RCI but very elegant. The public rooms like-wise are well designed. In particular we admired the Martini Lounge, the Celebrity Theatre and Michael's Club. The Normandie Room is also attractive, but more on that later.

Food in the Cosmopolitan Dining Room served by our waiter, Sebastiano, and his assistant, Jusuf, was without a doubt the best we have ever had on a cruise ship. Mostly gourmet. Our section maitre d', Dragon, was very friendly and dropped by each evening to our table to make sure everything was to our liking. Unfortunately, his superior, Zubi, rarely smiled and did not seem too friendly.

The dining room was somewhat noisy and our table location in a busy aisle gave us a steady traffic of waiters bustling by. Dragon tried his best to move us to a better table but with 2,030 passengers on board, all tables in first seating were full.

Now for a shocker. We reserved a table at the Normandie Room at an extra cost of $25.00 each. We were first in at our appointed time of 6 p.m. After being seated six tuxedo-clad waiters stood in a line staring at us. My wife, Marie, said, "Let's get out of here!" The attack began by the over-zealous waiters. We ordered the famous Soufflé of goat cheese. Marie could not eat it because of the seasoning. I ate mine but did not find it out of the ordinary. The waiter offered to bring my wife a "small" salad. She replied, "How about a large salad?. That was all she ate. She did not like anything on the menu. I had the rack of lamb which was delicious. We missed the Crab Legs that were served in the Cosmopolitan Dining room that night. We wish we had skipped the Normandie Room.

Food in the Waterfall Grill was excellent. But, why do they not serve pizza at noon lunch time. It is available only from 3:30 pm. I don't know why anyone would want to fill up on pizza just prior to going for a beautiful dinner in the dining room!

Entertainment is an important part of the cruise experience to us. We had read mixed reviews on Celebrity's forte in showroom performances. Our fears were put to rest. Every night we were treated to great performances by a group of very professional entertainers backed by the excellent Celebrity Orchestra. All five soloists in the Celebrity Chorus and Dance group could be headliners in a Broadway musical. Cruise director, Eric Bohus, was an excellent M.C. for the talent studded cast of performers.

We made good use of the beautiful Aqua-Spa. Floating in the heated seawater with your body massaged by bubbles was heavenly. Nearby with a view of the ocean was a well equipped exercise room which we used almost daily. Marie raved about the workouts given by the aerobic instructor from Lithuania.

We thought when we booked this cruise that the ship would have to be the destination as the ports of call would be few and probably not too interesting. Ports such as Aruba, Acapulco. and Puntarenas were even less scenic than we had expected. We did enjoy the Panama Canal transit and, a tour to the top of Poa volcano in Costa Rica. Cabo San Lucas was clean, quaint and rather picturesque.

After cruises to Scandinavia, Mediterranean, and Asia in recent years, I'm afraid we are rather hard to please when it comes to land tours.

After all, we were not disappointed. We did come looking for a great cruise on the Summit and it exceeded our expectations.

We will sail Celebrity again in the future.

Mark Lindsay

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