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April 30 - May 7, 2004
by David Martin
Prolog - First Cruise
I will state that, for me, Celebrity met and exceeded all my expectations. This line offered those things that I desired from a cruise: traditional dining, excellent service and relaxation. I wanted a quiet stateroom without announcements. I wanted to be treated well
by friendly staff. A veranda that is private to enjoy the Caribbean waters. Celebrity took care of all these needs.
Embarkation started at 11:00. We were on board before 11:30am. Filling out embarkation information on-line prior to arrival expedited the process. We stayed at the Amerisuites hotel ($89) the night prior to embarkation - we were excited about our first voyage. Since this was our first cruise we arrived an hour early. Remember
to keep a carry on with swim wear. Luggage was delivered to our stateroom about 5 hours later. Champagne and Mimosas greeted us upon stepping aboard the ship. A lunch buffet promptly began at noon. We were instantly impressed by the luxurious atmosphere of the ship.
8099 port side, midship, Cat 1A. Perfect for two. Nice bathroom with a big shower. Ample closet space, six drawers. 191 sq. ft. with a 41 sq. ft. veranda... nice.
Around the Ship
Sun Deck: Plenty of deck chairs... very little evidence of chair hogs. Lots of empty chairs. Good atmosphere on these
ships... well designed pool area.
Celebrity Theater: Large, elegant. Comfortable seating. The shows were entertaining.
Emporium: More variety than I expected. Everything from drug store items to diamonds, jewelry and clothes.
Michael's Club: Now a piano bar. Wonderfully adorned but empty most of the day.
Martini Bar: Starboard. More types of martinis than you can imagine! Martinis were delicious!
Champagne Lounge: Port.
Casino: The slots were loose. Cathy won $230 on the quarter machines.
Cova Cafe: Fee based specialty coffees, free pastries. I guess you could call it a piano coffee house. Stop by and enjoy the delicious pastries.
Cosmopolitan Restaurant: Excellent dishes, outstanding presentation and a wonderful dining experience. We are not hard to please,
so we did not find an appetizer, soup, salad, entree or dessert that was not excellent. We thoroughly enjoyed the five course dining experience. Service was excellent. We had early dining, sat at an eight person table and met new friends (Karen and Gayle). Our waiter and assistant waiter were delightful. I especially enjoyed the string quartet that played each night.
Normandie Restaurant: We did not partake. There is a $30.00 surcharge to dine in the Normandie Restaurant. I was happy with the Cosmopolitan restaurant.
Waterfall Cafe: The food was varied and prepared in excellent fashion. This provided a delightful casual dining alternative. It never seemed crowded and the staff was very efficient.
Entertainment: Something was happening all through out the day. The daily itinerary of events allowed each passenger to plan their own day.
Excursions: Key West was enjoyable as a first stop. Cozumel was our second stop
and my wife enjoyed the shopping while I enjoyed the free shots of tequila in most of the shops. Belize was our third stop and
even though the people were gracious the local area was poor and run down. Roatan Honduras was wonderful. We would surely vacation on Roatan in the future. Our last stop, Grand Cayman, was very enjoyable. We snorkeled and swam with stingrays. My wife bought her last few souvenirs.
Last Days at Sea
This is when I realized our vacation was coming to an end. The time had slipped by and the knowledge of how fortunate
I was to sail the Caribbean remained in my thoughts. The last day at sea was our most relaxed period. I was going to miss the elegance of our temporary surrounding.
I do, however, have the photos and memories of a moving event which will be embedded in my memory for many years. Memories of Cathy and I sailing to new ports... images of Cozumel, Key West and dark blue Topaz waters. Watching my wife swim with dolphins in Roatan and hugging stingrays in Grand Cayman's Stringray city. We had seven days at sea to do nothing but enjoy this wondrous vessel called Summit.
The Summit crew was genuinely happy, well trained and devoted to excellent service. There were literally dozens of times we heard remarks, "You will not find this on Carnival!" or "Carnival doesn't provide that
service." From the complimentary champagne or orange juice at embarkation to the cloth towels in the public restrooms, Celebrity tried and accomplished their public claims - to be the best premium line in the world. The rebrand is in place. Sorbet and chilled towels are available on the sundeck at noon. Chilled towels are presented when returning to ship from shore excursions. This is a very good cruise line!
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