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Robert D. Meae

Age: 72

Occupation:Retired educator

Number of Cruises: 18

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Summit

Sailing Date: April 11th, 2005

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

My wife, who is partially handicapped, and I have sailed with Celebrity eighteen times, the last six on Summit. We have found the staff, in all departments, to be consistently friendly and willing to do anything to please.

As an example, we have become friendly with the Hotel Director, Daniel Elias. Three cruises ago I ran into him in the shops. During our conversation I mentioned that my wife has to sleep in a partially sitting position, and piling pillows wasn't working very well. He immediately said that there was a simple solution, a wooden wedge under the flexible foam mattress. Within three hours one was constructed and placed in her bed. Our cabin attendant made up the two beds as singles but fastened them together as they had been before. On our last two cruises I faxed the specifications of the wedge ahead to the ship. On one they wanted clarification before getting it done in a couple of hours. On our last cruise the stateroom attendant, Maria, wouldn't bring the already constructed wedge until she got another copy of the specs from me to make sure it was correct. While we were having lunch in the buffet it was brought in, installed, and the linens changed as noted above.

On this cruise, as on all our others, the staff went out of their way to accommodate us, including insisting on pushing my wife's wheelchair into the dining room every time we entered. When we went on shore there was always a crewman available to take her off and on the ship.

Because we have sailed so often on Celebrity, and particularly on Summit, we either know or recognize many of the assistant maitre 'd's and dining room/buffet staff. Even those we've only seen on previous cruises made it a point to come over and greet us at lunch in the dining room or buffet. With this kind of friendliness our cruise was like a home-away-from-home vacation. Also, because of our many cruises, we felt pride in seeing that personnel we had known and recommended had been promoted. Two assistant maitre 'd's are now Restaurant Managers, one is the maitre 'd of a specialty restaurant, and several waiter's assistants are now waiters/waitresses. Other servers have been promoted to working in the specialty restaurant in Millennium class ships.

The wheelchair-accessible stateroom (and suites, which we were upgraded into once), are very roomy, with an eighteen foot veranda outside, and a ramp to move a wheelchair onto the veranda should it be desired.

Food on the Summit, as on all the Celebrity ships we have sailed (Century, Mercury, Galaxy, Millennium, Infinity, and Summit), was consistently excellent. There are a couple of entrees (usually a lamb dish) that aren't really that good, and our servers always steered us away from them. Frequent cruisers such as us are also aware that, should the menu not please us, always available at dinner are shrimp cocktail, caesar salad, steak, and roast chicken.

Children that participate in the various programs available to them are almost never seen by us "senior" guests. That's a plus for those who take a cruise, as we do, as much for the quiet break from normal life as for port attractions.

All in all, my wife and I have found Celebrity cruises to be a fantastic way to spend seven to eleven days. The service is exemplary, the ships clean and tidy, and the staff willing to do virtually anything you ask of them. Although, because of health concerns, we can only sail the Caribbean, I'm sure the on-board experience would be as fine on other itineraries. As an aside, another plus is that Celebrity, alone of all the premium lines I have contacted, will provide a wheelchair for the length of the cruise if requested.

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