Jim Yatman / Fred Michael
Occupation:Health Professional / Retired Educator
Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Celebrity
Sailing Date: December 27th, 2004
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
This was our second cruise together and also second for our family group. We were very pleased to find our rooms most adequate and the balcony is a must for such a lengthy cruise. We found the rooms and daily maintenance above our expectations as well as room service and steward attentiveness. We found it initially intimidating to acclimate to the large ship, however, the ship is well marked and soon knew the quickest route to our various destinations. The dining staff were always attentive and greeting us anytime of day whether it be in the main dining room or at waterfall cafe. Our head waiter (Boban ) and assistant (Alberto) were very efficient as well as the matre'd Shadi whom orchestrated a very organized and efficient formal seating dining experience each evening. We were a large group and found our various tastes satisfied with the numerous selections ranging from main dining room seating, outside casual, pizza, burgers, salad bar and the excellent sushi bar. I was able to convince my sister to try sushi for the first time and the staff were most accommodating. I made a comment to our waiter in the Waterfall Cafe (Glen) "I liked Indian food." I was met that evening at my assigned table in the dining room by the head waiter indicating the Chef had arranged a special selection of Indian cuisine especially prepared for me. I was very impressed and grateful for this one of a kind preparation. I will always remember the smile on Glens face the following morning when I thanked him for arranging this.
We were very happy to participate in many activities that were offered by Don ( Cruise Director) and his energized and people friendly crew. We all enjoyed the nightly newspaper placed on our bed indicating the weather, temp, and agendas for the following days activities. Fred and I appreciated Don announcing the special "Friends of Dorothy" receptions in this paper and its location. We were able to greet and meet new friends from other places.
We relaxed each evening in the salt water therapy pool and found the large showers and lounges nearby well stocked with towels and hair dryers. The musical shows were compared to that of any professional show we have been. We were seated at early dinner which made it perfect to stroll to the theatre afterwards in time to relax and be entertained. We recommend taking earplugs if the "Yannie Wannabe" is playing piano !! A nice relaxing stroll on the upper deck might be a better and quieter choice.
The Revelations Lounge is on the 10th floor upper front deck and one of the best places to see spectacular ocean scenery during the day or enjoy music and drinks at night. We initiated a "Drinks at 11" party each night with our group.. a nice way to wind down the day with family and partake of the "Drink of the Day" specials. We suggest finding where the fabulous acapella group "SoulDOut" are singing and hear them...then go again and again.. they have a knack of singin to the crowds. not at them. If you are in the mood for a piano bar ( and if you can persuade the player to get over himself and sing lower) Michaels Lounge is a great place to have a drink amongst a pleasing atmosphere of a "study" or social club sitting area.
I was very grateful to be able to use the Internet facilities not once but every day we were on the cruise. Johnny was most helpful in assisting me in downloading my photos each day to the main computer system which allowed me to start each day with a free digital memory card and able to preview my photos daily. We used the internet cafe a few times to send email messages ,however, used internet cafes off board which were drastically less expensive. I also took advantage of one of many computer classes offered for a nominal fee one of the days at sea.
Our Brother rented vans each stop and went as a group to tour various places. We visted the Mayan Ruins in Cozumel and then our driver found a great "local" eatery where we were treated royally and the 5 course meal was delicious for the $5 each price. We rented a van in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica and Roger (Rogers Van Service) was our guide and driver. Roger took us to San Miguel (Capitol City) a 2 hour drive through the jungle, pineapple plantations, banana plantations and mountains. Roger was able to speak the language, barter the prices, take us to familiar areas and we were worry free about our safety or transportation. We ate at a wonderful restaurant in the jungle "The Ponderosa" on our way back to the ship and enjoyed Costa Rican cuisine.
We were a bit tired touring the Panama Canal since it was New Years Day and we stayed up partying the night before. We enjoyed the boat trip through the canal and able to watch the several locks open and close. The particular yacht we were on was originally owned by none other than Al Capone. The yacht was a beautiful large mahogany wood vessel and seated many for all to partake of a delicious lunch while sailing through the Panama Canal zone. Be sure to drink plenty of water since it was a hot boat trip.
We feel Aruba was one of most beautiful ports of call, beware of the van drivers trying to get the best deal and also filling their vans to capacity. We chose to take the city bus to Palm Beach for an enjoyable beach excursion although the bar at beachside was expensive.
We feel Carrasou was the most beautiful port of our trip, another of the Dutch Antillies. We were able to compare this place to Amsterdam due to the decor, waterfront shops and language spoken ( English, Spanish and Dutch). Our brother Gary rented a private vehicle for $50 the day and that provided us with free range of the whole island. We drove to a National Park Preserve at the end of the Island where we were able to walk above on the lava cliffs and watch the waves crash above our heads. We shopped at the local supermarkets for the local "liquor" instead of shopping at the ship side shops where it was more expensive. We were very grateful upon our return each day to find a Summit staff person awaiting us with disinfectant lotion as well as iced towels to refresh ourselves before reboarding. The ships cleaning crew were visible always making certain the ships was spotless and not a thing out of place. The family involved themselves in the "slots" one evening (including our 92 year old Mother) in the casino and enjoyed that time to have fun and be entertained. There were families of all ages onboard and the ship staff had ample activity for all ages from young to elderly.
At poolside, we found it annoying to have a large group reserve several deck chairs each morning with their clothing and then not show up until noon. We also witnessed at least two people from the east coast (easily detected by their abrasive and entitled manner) making unreasonable demands and constantly complaining to the crew. I was pleased to see the Maitre'd finally step in and took care of the situation and the "ugly Americans" did not have a clue as to their behavior or its effect. We were thinking 12 days would be a long cruise until it was time to leave. We felt this vacation was one of the best we had undertaken and memorable for our whole group. The Summit disembarkation process went very smoothly and we were on our way to the airport in less than 30 minutes after leaving our original processing point. We will cruise Celebrity again and hopefully it will be the Summit to Alaska.