Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Celebrity
Sailing Date: April 16th, 2004
Itinerary: Southern Caribbean
Here’s my review of our trip on the Summit, April 16th thru 26th, 2004. You will see some cross references to Holland America in this review, as I had only been on one other cruise line RCCL (7 days), which happened to be my first cruise. Holland America was my 2nd cruise and was my favorite. So, this was my 3rd cruise. The reason for the comparison between Holland and Celebrity was because they were both 10 day cruises.
Embarkation was a breeze. I could not believe how quickly we got on the ship. We arrived at 11:15 am and was on the ship by 11:30 am. A lot quicker than when we sailed on Holland America last year. The champagne welcome when you entered the ship was a very nice touch. Holland America also had the champagne welcome.
They were still getting our stateroom ready when we boarded, so we walked around the ship, made spa appointments and had lunch, then it was off to see if the room was ready for our arrival. They were done and we dropped off our carry on. The room was adequate, but not as large as Holland America. For the money, Holland America does have a much larger room and verandah as well as additional special services with their Deluxe Verandah Suite which included, free laundry, dry cleaning and pressing, in room VCR, hors d’oeuvres every evening. The room that would have been equivalent in money and space to Holland America’s Deluxe Verandah Suite was Celebritys’ Celebrity Suite, which did not have a balcony or verandah. Therefore, we chose the 1A which turned into the Concierge Class because of the balcony. We would have had to go up to the Royal Suite which would have been a little larger, but would have had a large verandah, in order to get equivalent to what we had at Holland in the Deluxe Verandah Suite. The money difference would have been approximately $2,500.00 more per person going into the Royal Suite. We had breakfast a few times on our balcony, but found it to be quit small compared to Holland America which had a table with 4 chairs and 2 lounge chairs on its verandah and still room to walk around without bumping into one another. We also had dinner a couple times and had to be very creative with the placement of the dishes and lids.
One thing that Celebrity doesn’t do that was a very nice touch on Holland America was that Holland Americas room attendant or butler brought your luggage in from the hall and placed it on your beds. With Celebrity, you were on your own to retrieve your luggage from the hall.
We unpacked our clothes and put them in the drawers and closet and discovered that the shower had quit a bit of mildew in it and looked as though it had not been cleaned in a month. As soon as we brought it to the Chief Housekeeper, Yani’s, attention, it was taken care of and cleaned . We had a new Cabin Attendant, Edwin. It was his first trip, but once he realized what we wanted, which basically consisted of ice, everything was handled and he was very accommodating. When Edwin wasn’t around, his Assistant, Bijoy was right there to answer our needs.
Around 2:00 we headed for the pool bar to have a drink, relax and to meet some of the people from the Cruise Critics board who would be meeting at 3:00. It was a lot of fun putting the faces with everyone who we talked with on the boards for so many months prior to sailing.
At 4:00 we had The Muster Drill which went very smooth and done in record time.
Off we went to Revelations Lounge for our sail away. We met one of the bar tenders, Omar, and became fast friends. He always had a smile on his face and was eager to please. He never forgot exactly what you wanted and how you wanted it. The DJ in the Revelations Lounge name was Ginge. He was most accommodating in playing what you wanted to listen too.
The door decorations we put up seemed to multiply; thanks to some wonderful and wacky people we met…Rick and Kathy. They decided one night, as we were up in the Revelations Lounge dancing, that they were going to sneak down and put all these balloons on our door. We now refer to them as the balloon people as well as other loving and adoring titles. They also enjoyed moving around our fish every day in different positions on the door. Many people commented that it was easy to find their own rooms by our door decorations. We also decorated the balcony with these tropical flags. Next year we will choose some brighter and bolder colored ones so they can be seen easier when we look up from land.
I can’t comment much about the first 2 days at sea as I was a little sea sick. I’m not sure if it was really rough out, or the size of the ship that made it roll more than the smaller ones I have been use to, but it was a rough couple of days for me. Quite a few other people were talking about the motion and pitching of the M Class ships as well. I was told by another passenger about this wonderful pink pill which you only take once a day. What a difference it made. I went down to Guest Relations and they gave me an envelope with 4 pills in it. I used them for the last sea days going to the different ports and the 2 sea days coming home. It didn’t bother me the port days, but the seas weren’t as rough. Could have been because we were between land masses, or just in my head. Who knows? All I can say is thank God for the little pink pill and for Brian upstairs at the Waterfall Bar who suggested I try this certain kind of Italian bitters. I know I’m going to spell it wrong, but here goes…Fernet Bianca. It was the worst tasting stuff I had ever put in my mouth, but within minutes my stomach was settling down. I’ve never eaten a tree bark, but I can only assume that would be a similar taste.
I had a massage the 2nd day at sea which was glorious. Between the little pink pill, the bitters and the massage, I was feeling much better. I think I actually floated out of the spa.
Besides having the breakfast bar each morning, they had an omelet station. They also had a waffle, pancake and French toast station. Very nice touches. During lunch, not only did they have the lunch buffet, but they had a pasta area where you could get pasta and whatever kind of sauce with all the trimmings that you would want made right there to your liking. In the back of the Waterfall Café they had a place that made a special and different kind of sandwich every day (i.e.: philly steak sandwich, tuna melt, reuben, etc.). That too was a nice touch. These are some of the things that Holland didn’t offer and should think about offering.
One of my favorite places before heading to dinner was the Martini Bar. Their Chocolate Martinis were to die for and my sister enjoyed the Dirty Martinis. We always had Rose Ruiz who waited on us. She always remembered what we liked. One night we did the Martini tasting, but I didn’t find anything I liked better than the Chocolate Martini. That was probably the one thing missing from our cruise with Holland America, no Chocolate Martini’s.
Another of our favorite places was the Casual Dining Blvd. It was in the back of the Waterfall Café and opened around 5:30 pm. They ask that you make a reservation sometime during the day if you are planning on going there to eat. There is no additional charge. It had wonderful food. Equivalent, in my opinion, to the Cosmopolitan Dining Room. The head waiter was wonderful and very attentive to every little detail. The staff under him was friendly, and seemed to enjoy their jobs immensely. The tables were set with linens and very well done. On the other side of the Casual Dining Blvd. was the Sushi Bar. If you liked Sushi, it was excellent. Just beyond the Casual Dining Blvd. and the Sushi Bar was the aft deck. We would wander out to the aft deck after dinner to have a drink and listen to the performance of Ron, who if you closed your eyes you would think that it was Santana performing. A couple we met on the ship had their stateroom in the aft about 3 floors under Ron and his music. They said they loved sitting out on their own balcony having a drink and dancing to his music. Very Romantic.
We did not get a chance to eat in their specialty restaurant, The Normandy, but heard from others it was well worth the extra money. $30.00 if I’m not mistaken. Expect to spend approximately 2 to 2½ hours dining at The Normandy.
They have two pools, both of which are saltwater. On Holland America the pools are fresh water, which I really like better than saltwater pools. One is their regular pool where all the activities, entertainment and music is. They also have the Spa Pool which is heated and has an area on each side of the pool where it is really bubbly. Almost like a hot tub. The Spa Pool is for adults only…no children.
Well, everyone has heard of the pool chair “Hogs”. They are alive and well on the Summit. But, the Pool Attendants did a wonderful job of overseeing and making sure everyone had a seat and if chairs were left unattended too long, there belongs were moved. There was a group of people on the ship that took over the Spa pool area. They had 2 tables that they played cards at and were VERY loud and also had about 5 of the teak lounge chairs with all their stuff on them that they weren’t using. No matter where you go you’ll find people with little to no manners. What a shame they were brought up by wolves.
A lot of fun things happening daily poolside. A definite area not to miss. You will be entertained. The music was great too.
The age group on our cruise was about the same age group that was on Holland last year. We didn’t notice any difference in age from one ship to the other.
They had some very interesting pieces of art throughout the ship. Very Contemporary.
I will always remember Simon Weir (Cruise Director) and his rendition of “Old MacDonald Had A Farm” Not only did we see it in person at the show one night, but we watched it the next day on the Celebrity TV while getting dressed for port, when they showed it, over and over again. And we laughed, over and over again. Definitely not to be missed.
The Assistant Director, Stewart Turnbull, was one of the best we had seen. His expressions and energy was unsurpassed. Hopefully Stewart will get his own ship soon and become a Cruise Director. He definitely deserves it.
Lauren, on the Activities staff, was a major asset to the team. She had only been on the ship for 1 month, which surprised me, as she seemed so comfortable with her position that I thought she had been on for years. She had this infectious energy and fabulous smile. She’s definitely a keeper.
On Celebrity they had Karaoke and also a Talent Show put on by the passengers. This is something that Holland America didn’t have and would be a great addition to their roster. I have to give credit to all those who got up there and sang and danced. What a great time. Some of them were even good.
I remember on Holland America how visible the captain was, which was nice. He was usually on the dock to greet everyone who got off the ship on most port days when he could. You could also see him around the ship and ask him questions and he was very friendly and accessible to all the passengers. On Celebrity, the only time we saw the Captain was the first formal night. Never saw him again.
I chose to use their internet for $2.00 per email instead of using mine for $.75 per minute. By using theirs, I could write a very lengthy email or spend as many minutes on writing as I wanted. But remember, it is $2.00 per email whether you send one or you receive one. I had timed my self and on an average per email, either reading from my husband or writing to him, I spent an average of about 10 to 15 minutes each time. So I figured I made the right choice.
Now on to shopping, my favorite. Found some great jewelry and linen deals in St. Maarten. Also found a lot of the jewelry to be less money in St. Maarten than in St. Thomas. I really liked Mac at Ballerina Jewelers in St. Maarten at the terminal port as soon as you get off the ship. He would really work to get you his best price possible. They also have another store in town as well. The French side was very quaint and we enjoyed a great lunch at the marina.
In St. Thomas I wouldn’t go anywhere else but Celebrity Jewelers in Haversight Mall which is the shopping area as soon as you get off the ship. The person to see there is Mark for great deals. They also have a store in downtown St. Thomas as well. The Liquor in St. Thomas is about the same in St. Maarten, but if you get it in St. Thomas, you can bring more back.
St. Lucia was a fun place to get off and take the ferry and go shopping. They have this wonderful shopping area with all kinds of stuff and local crafts. The people were very friendly.
In Barbados I found this wonderful sterling silver jewelry and acquired a couple pieces.
As far as St. Kitts goes, unless you have booked an excursion, there isn’t much shopping there. This island is flatter than the other islands we went to. It does look like they are trying to get together a nice area of shops, but doesn’t look like it will be finished for some time. Maybe at the beginning of next season.
Disembarkation was smooth. What takes the longest time is to find your suit cases. We even saved the flags from the balcony decorations and tied them to our suit cases hoping to spot them quicker, but they seemed to blend in. Maybe next year I’ll paint my suit cases a neon yellow to find them quicker. Happy sailing to all. Remember, it’s the journey that counts.