Celebrity Summit ReviewAlaskaNBP (boten)July, 2004The SummitI finished reading Peter Jenkins'
Number of Cruises: N/A
Cruise Line: Celebrity
Sailing Date: July 2004
I finished reading Peter Jenkins' "Looking for Alaska" - a great book if you plan to go to Alaska. We received our docs, computer generated, in late June. My custom-made Milepost logs were expanded to include the trip to Homer.
We were ready to go!
I am slightly disabled and need to take crutches on the flight. Once we finish with the checked luggage and got our boarding passes, I changed from the brace to the crutches, used a wheelchair in the terminal and then boarded the plane with the crutches. This spared me the stress of wearing the brace through the long flights. I used the crutches & wheelchair when we transfered flights, and put the brace on about an hour before landing at our final destination.
For this purpose we had a bag custom-made, 4 feet long, that can hold the crutches and regular shoes when I'm wearing the brace, or the brace and the orthopedic shoes when I'm using crutches. We tie the bag to a folding cart so my wife, Dalia don't have to lug it on her shoulders.July 14, 2004
We usually fly Lufthansa from Tel-Aviv to Frankfurt, have a long cigarette break in Frankfurt - Yes, there is smoking in the terminal and in the coffee shops around the terminal - and then continue to our final destination.
We had enough miles to upgrade one leg of our journey into business class. Having a choice of upgrading a four hour flight (Tel-Aviv to Frankfurt) or a nine hour flight (Frankfurt to Vancouver), what would you choose? It's a no-brainer - of course we upgraded the longer flight.
Our flight was scheduled to depart at 4:30 AM. The security checks in Tel-Aviv are long and thorough, and passengers are required to be at the airport three hours before the flight. We left home at midnight and arrived at the airport just before 1 AM to find no one at the Lufthansa counters, but we were able to start our check through security.
At about 1:30 AM, Lufthansa opened their counters. Surprise! Their computer system, connected to Germany, went kaput. After almost an hour of testing the systems, they decided to board the flight manually using a printed passenger list. Of course this meant we would have to get our business class boarding passes for the second leg to Vancouver in Frankfurt. The flight left an hour late, but we had plenty of time in Frankfurt to get everything sorted out.
It was an uneventful flight. We landed in Frankfurt, had to look for a wheelchair, and had a lady to escort us to our gate for the flight to Vancouver. I explained to the lady that we needed to get our upgrade, so she escorted us to a ticketing counter. They did have us on the upgrade list, and we ended up in the business lounge. At that point we dismissed our escort and settled in for the wait. Free beer - there's also champagne and wine - makes a three hour wait go rather quickly.
Finally, it was time to board the flight to Vancouver. The Airbus business class features very sophisticated seats and entertainment center, with a remote control to operate both. The seats not only recline fully to a horizontal position, they also have a massage system.
While trying all the options on the screen, I used my degree in Computer Sciences and managed to foul up the system. It had to re-boot. It uses the "ancient" and very slow X-Modem protocol to upload the software, duh!
After a few drinks, and a meal accompanied by wine, we settled in for a nap. When we woke up, I realized that the aircraft was hungry too! A floor panel between my seat and the side wall was missing, a wide hole was exposed, one of my crutches was firmly stuck in the hole and the part that holds the forearm was missing! Dalia, a worried flight attendant, and I all struggled to free the crutch. We tried recovering the missing part, sticking our hands inside the hole filled with wires and mechanical stuff, but the part was gone. The aircraft swallowed it. Missing the part made walking with the crutches tricky, though not impossible. I just had to walk in very very small steps in order not to lose my balance. No worry, I assured Dalia. These crutches are called Canadian crutches in Israel - we are landing in Vancouver - we will find a new crutch. After all, these ARE Canadian crutches.
About an hour before landing I went to the bathroom to put on my leg brace. When I came back, I saw that the folding cart was stuck between the seat and the floor. Those seats are very sophisticated, they don't just move back and forth. Getting them into position for landing involves some up and down movement. That movement pressed the leg support against the cart, producing a disturbing grinding noise. The already-worried flight attendant came over again, got more worried, tried to free the cart, couldn't free the cart, got so worried that he started cursing - in Polish! We knew it was Polish, we use the same curses in Israel. The curses helped. The cart was freed from the seat with no apparent damage to either the cart or the seat.
We finally landed in Vancouver, went smoothly through Canadian immigration and waited for our luggage. Within 10 minutes we got all our luggage except one piece, our largest suitcase. We waited for that suitcase. You probably know the feeling, you miss only one suitcase, people are leaving the carousel with THEIR luggage, yours is not in sight, you start thinking unhealthy thoughts, you try to figure out what was in that missing suitcase. We went through the whole process, we realized the missing suitcase contained, among other things, our clothes for formal nights!
After 50 agonizing minutes, the suitcase arrived, big and heavy. We left the terminal. I decided that after what we went through, we deserved some pampering, so we took a Limo - not too much more expensive than a taxi - to the hotel.
We arrived at the Blue Horizon hotel on Robson street. Great location! Great room! We asked for a North-West corner room for the views and we got one on the 29th floor. Lots of floor to ceiling windows, a balcony, and views of both the English Bay and the North shores between the high rises.
After settling in, we walked a short block to London Drugs looking for a new crutch. They didn't have any but they gave us the number of a medical supply store to call. It was too late to call that evening. We went to a Korean restaurant nearby, got huge portions - we should have ordered one dinner and shared it - walked around and went back to the hotel to sleep.July 15, 2004
We woke up and had a nice long breakfast at the hotel restaurant. The weather was great so we sat outside on our balcony, watching the street come to life.
After breakfast we took a cab to the medical supply store. Yes, they have crutches. No, they don't have those type of crutches, in fact they never heard of Canadian crutches. They called some other places, no one ever saw these type of crutches. They only have "regular" crutches which are less maneuverable. I decided to improvise something. We went back to the hotel and with some cardboard for a skeleton, bubble wrap for flesh and a lot of duct tape (yet another use for it), I fixed something resembling the missing part. I tried it, it was too flimsy, so some more duct tape, and then a lot more duct tape, made it firm enough to last the entire trip.
Strolling the streets was too difficult for me so we boarded the trolley which is a hop-on hop-off deal, got off at English Bay, walked around some, had coffee and ice cream, boarded the next trolley, got off at Gastown and walked some, boarded another trolley and returned to the hotel. We had a late lunch nearby, took a nap, woke up and finished packing the checked luggage, added the Celebrity tags, went out for coffee and cakes, and returned for an early night.
Tomorrow we sail!
It is somewhat inconceivable to me that a dream that started nearly two years ago is only a night's sleep away. Needless to say, sleep didn't come easily that night. Thoughts were running through my mind, happy thoughts: we are sailing tomorrow, bad thoughts: what else can go wrong. My thoughts probably mingled with some dreams as I drifted into sleep.July 16, 2004
We woke up just before 6 AM. I remembered the Summit was scheduled to dock at 7 AM and I recalled the various port web-cams we had been watching the past weeks, seeing the Summit almost always docking earlier than scheduled. We looked outside the windows and we waited. Shortly after 6 AM, between the high rises of downtown Vancouver, we saw the Summit sailing into port.
id I mention I didn't like her paint job? I thought that with the yellow stripes around her she looked like an oil tanker with a housing project stuck on top! Yuck!
What a beauty! Who cares about the paint job?
We were excited! We were not really hungry, so Dalia went down to a coffee shop in the corner and brought some croissants. We slowly had our coffee, got organized, and a bit after 10 AM went down to check out. The hotel lobby was full of suitcases belonging to people who had disembarked the Summit and were checking in.
We took a cab to the terminal. One of the hints I got off the cruise message forums and boards was to tip the porters at the terminal to assure the well-handling of our luggage. I did that, and watched the porter carrying our luggage for the enormous distance of - 10 feet.
The terminal was practically empty, except for a handful of passengers and the folks selling coffee and souvenirs. Some security staff were idling by the security gates and told me they would open at 11 AM. We didn't know how far we had to walk once we passed through security and my supposedly reserved wheelchair was not in sight. Dalia went to look for one and returned with a wheelchair and a lady wearing a Celebrity X logo.
When security opened we went through into a hall lined with counters for check in. We handed over our documents and all of the pertinent information was already in the system thanks to advanced registration on the net - we had our credit cards verified and were given our sea passes. Cool, we now had the keys!
From there we were directed into yet another hall in order to fill out our immigration forms and to wait for immigration clearance. Coffee, sandwiches and cakes were available and people were eating already. The lady who brought the wheelchair came by and advised us not to fill up as there is better food available in the buffet once we board the ship.
After about 20 minutes, the US immigration opened, we had our passports examined and our fingerprints and photos taken. A very tall and strong guy, dressed in a white uniform, was ready to push me on board the ship.
OH YES! We are inside the ship now! We face the security camera and are escorted to our cabin. At this point I dismissed the wheelchair, with the intention of not using one until our flight home.
Cabin 7202, here we are! The excitement, the bedroom, the closets, the living room, the seemingly endless drawers and cabinets, the bathroom, the balcony! Huge balcony! There's a round table, two chairs, four lounge chairs - two of them are padded - and a view. We can see folks at Canada place, they seem almost within hand's reach. We leave our carry-on luggage and immediately go out to explore the ship.
We were like kids in an amusement park, not knowing which ride to do first. We were charmed riding the glass elevators, we marveled at the atrium, we were amused by the artwork, we sat at the cinema just to try the seats, we conducted a meeting in the meeting room, we made reservations for the Normandie Restaurant, and we ended up at the Waterfall Café to eat.
What a buffet! So many choices and they all looked so beautiful and tasty. After walking around we realized most of the dishes were repeated on both sides of the buffet. Granted this was a logical arrangement to ease the masses but it also appeared to cut the selection in half, not that we could eat all of it. We took our food, with the help of the waiters, to the outside section and we sat to eat, to drink, to enjoy the view of Vancouver and the activity on the water and to realize we were finally on the ship. We were happy.
After lunch we went back to our cabin. Soon after our cabin attendant, Elder (he wasn't old, that was his name) introduced himself and his assistant, Elvis (he didn't sing). We accomplished quite a lot and it was only 2 PM, so we tried to take a nap. After less than an hour we realized sleep was out of the question, so it was time to test room service. We called for coffee and it arrived promptly. We settled down on the balcony, had our coffee and enjoyed the views - we did a lot of enjoying the views on this ship during the week to follow.
It was time for the drill. We reported to our muster station at the rendezvous lounge. It was funny, at least we thought it was. Grown up people dressed in funny bright red life vests. Apparently this is not a flight where almost nobody listens to the safety talk. We stood for about ten minutes on the deck, being watched by spectators at Canada place. What are they thinking? Do we look like a bunch of kindergarten children on a field trip? Do they envy us because they stay and we sail? Who knows? Who cares? We are on the ship and they are not!
After the drill we returned to our balcony. Boats, float planes, helicopters, I was not able to stop looking. Suddenly the horn blasted and the ship was sailing. We sail, WE SAIL! We hugged and kissed each other and wished ourselves a happy and safe sailing. We bade farewell to Vancouver as we passed Stanley Park and the Lion's Gate bridge.
Sometime after sailing, our luggage arrived in our cabin. It took us slightly more than half an hour to get everything in place and to get back out on the balcony. Eventually it was time for our late seating dinner in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant. Always hating to be late, we went down too early. The doors were still closed, so we waited with everybody else. As the doors opened, we went inside and looked for our table. We reserved a table for two and we found it.
We didn't like our table. It was stuck against the wall, behind the musicians, near the entrance to the kitchen. We really didn't like our table. Dalia decided we are NOT going to sit at this table. We didn't. A waiter came over to help us locate our table. We said we found it and we didn't like it. He seemed helpless. We asked to see the Maitre' D. The waiter left. We were still standing. Staff kept coming and offering help. We told them we are waiting for the Maitre' D. A gentleman, dressed in white, came over and introduced himself as the assistant Maitre' D. We explained our problem, he told us that this was our assigned table and we had to sit there, at least for the first night. This was not an acceptable situation. We felt that if we were to change tables, it had to be now, before other people got used to their tables. A double-digit note changed hands and we were escorted to another table for two, a better location, much better location, at the middle of the railing overlooking the lower level.
Our waitress, Farrah from South Africa, introduced herself and her assistant and gave us the menu. You all know the menu; appetizer, soup, salad, main course, dessert. I don't remember what we had for the main course, but we took the tiny shrimp cocktail as appetizer. Our idea of soup is hot, very hot, scalding. We didn't try any of the chilled soups throughout the cruise. In the week that followed, Dalia had mainly meat courses and I had mainly fish. It was a leisurely and tasty dinner. Overall, the food at the Cosmopolitan is good, not superb, good. The presentation however is very good and I would give the it a much higher mark.
After dinner we went to see the show. I understand that a lot of effort and practice goes into producing the shows, but we were not impressed. In fact it was the one and only nightly show we saw during the cruise.
It had been 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.
In the wee hours of the night, I woke up and went to the bathroom. The cruise message boards and forums 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'd 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 wanted was 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 was just to soak up the views. We decided to retire to our perfect viewing area, our balcony. The scenery was incredible. Big, medium, small and tiny islands, fishing boats, and, to top it all off, a pod of humpback whales and some Orcas passed us by.
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. 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. It was guest relations. The room service delay was reported to them and they apologized and promised me it would never happen again. I thanked them too. Certainly such incidents don't go unnoticed and reports do travel up the chain of command. Looks like Celebrity is running a tight ship in regard to 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: needs more garlic and more herbs and some larger escargot as we can get here in Israel.
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 Restaurant.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 had talked with Jim Kosmos of Southeast Aviation before we left home. He was very kind and informative and said he'd inform us about the tide when we arrived. 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 was 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 were mountain goats. They were too small to tell 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 Café, 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.
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 soufflé 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 was beautiful and the weather was beautiful. Warm and sunny, blue sky, rivers, lakes, snow-capped 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 was just gorgeous with the many shades of green and turquoise. We turned back heading for Skagway. The trip back was 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.
I woke up at 8 AM and looked out the balcony's sliding door at the sea. There was none to be seen! Instead of sea there was a huge structure blocking my view. I rubbed my eyes in disbelief and looked again. I was looking at the aft of another ship. Dalia, who woke up earlier and had already gone for coffee, told me I missed our arrival into Juneau. We were docked bumper to bumper with Holland America's Ryndam.
After breakfast we considered our schedule for the day. We did not have any reserved excursion but rather planned on riding the tram up Mt. Roberts and taking the bus to Mendenhal Glacier. The day was rainy, cold and foggy as we looked towards Mt. Roberts and couldn't see the top. We know that if you can't see the top from below, you won't see the below from the top, so we decided to make this one a lazy day.
We strolled down South Franklin street, going in and out of the many shops. The area was loaded with people from five ships; the shops were very busy and it was slightly chaotic. After buying some touristy stuff and visiting the salmon smokehouse, we went back to the ship. When it was time for lunch we went to the Cosmopolitan to try lunch there. It was a mistake. The service was bad, the food was tasteless, they brought us the wrong brand of beer and had to go back and replace it. It was not a good experience.
After our usual nap, we decided to do something unusual and say Hi to our good friend Newt. Now, saying Hi should be no problem, just log on to the net and send e-mail to him. Well, that is usual, everybody does that. We wanted something unique, something that would still be seen for some time after the act, something that even Celebrity would participate in.
I already mentioned the web-cams before and I've seen people standing on the front deck during the Hubbard Glacier cruising, so if we were to put up a sign on the front deck it would be picked up by the ship's camera and we just let Celebrity worry about delivering the message. We went to look for a large piece of paper and found a stand of presentation paper near the entrance to the Normandie Restaurant, took one sheet of paper and went to our cabin. We thought of using a large felt pen for the letters but we had none, duct tape to the rescue. HI NEWT does not have any curves in the letters so it was easy to do.
The rest of the afternoon was spent looking at the activities on the water, float planes taking off and landing, tenders in and out of the ship anchored out and the delicate waltz the Ryndam performed leaving the dock and spinning like a dreidel. After dinner we went to see the Newlywed show at the theatre (now I know what a cruise director's job is), then to the disco and to bed.July 21, 2004
When we woke up this morning, the Summit was already anchored near Hoonah, aka Icy Strait Point. The morning fog cleared after breakfast and we tendered ashore. The whole tendering process was new to us and the folding mini dock that they used was pretty cool. After looking at the small museum and the shops, and after meeting with Chookenshaa who had a medical emergency to attend to, we took the shuttle into town. Our shuttle was operated by a local woman who seemed to have some trouble calculating change for any size group of people, but was much better at explaining the surroundings during the short drive to town. Hoonah was quite different from the other ports we've seen. It is much smaller and has no tourist shops unless one considers the art items sold by locals at the community hall. We walked to the small boat harbour and we saw a bald eagle. No, we did not see the 80+ eagles everyone was talking about. Maybe this single one just flies from spot to spot.
We tendered back to ship and I noticed the big box that
was welded to the side of the Summit to seal the hole she received
when hitting a small iceberg last year.
The weather was getting colder, it was raining and fog engulfed Hoonah before we sailed away.
Tonight was formal again. We walked into the Cosmopolitan carrying our martini and champagne. Dinner was very good accompanied with the spectacular parade of waiters and the slightly disappointing baked alaska.July 22, 2004
We woke up very early to watch the sailing up Yakutat bay to Hubbard glacier. Little chunks of ice start to appear, then larger chunks, then even larger ones. The approach gradually builds up until we see the glacier. What a magnificent view and we had the best seat in the house right on our balcony. The extra price for the balcony was well worth it today! I did not measure time but our starboard side of the ship faced the glacier much longer than the port side, and even then our prime location enabled us to see the full glory of the glacier. It was cold. It was bitterly cold but it was beautiful. We watched from the balcony and tried to stay warm with help of more layers and hot coffee from room service. Sometime during our stay alongside the glacier, Dalia went up to the front deck and carried the HI NEWT sign to be recorded by the ship's camera.
In the afternoon the sea was getting rough, large waves kept the ship rocking and rolling, passengers and crew members alike were getting sick. Except for slight dizziness, we were spared from most of this misery, but it was no fun packing in those conditions and it took much longer than unpacking. When we finished we took the envelopes and had our last walk of the ship including our first - and not successful - try at the slots in Fortunes Casino, and buying our formal night photos.
Despite many empty tables, service at dinner was unusually slow. Our waitress said that many of the first seating passengers didn't show up because of the storm and thus room service orders were way up and the staff was working both room service and the dining room. She also said the storm was stronger than usual. I don't know if people didn't show up because of the storm, because they were packing or because they decided to make it a stiff the staff night. I did notice that the Maitre D' stood in his station and counted every envelope received. We were very tired after dinner and we just returned to our cabin for the last night on board.July 23, 2004
Celebrity Cruises Summit docked in Seward, Alaska
When we woke up in Seward it was cool and foggy again. This was the only morning we felt too cold to have breakfast outside of the Waterfall so we ate inside, missing our morning smoke.
We wanted to disembark as early as possible to catch the 8 AM Kenai Fjords tour in Seward. When we got to the theatre to wait for our color to be called, I inquired about the estimated time of disembarkation and was told it would be around 7:45 AM. That was just too late to make the tour. We decided to join one of the earlier groups. The staff wasn't enthusiastic about us messing up their schedule but they didn't hold us captive on board. We walked down, waved goodbye to the security staff and to the Summit, into the terminal, picked up our luggage, discovered one suitcase with a broken wheel unit, filled out the necessary forms for damage, called Avis, boarded the shuttle and walked into their office. The time was 7:05 AM.