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Review: Celebrity Summit - Panama Canal Cruise
Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles
January 20 - February 3, 2007
We arrived at the pier in Fort Lauderdale shortly after 12:30 pm. After depositing our luggage with the porters, we proceeded inside the terminal and quickly moved through security and arrived at the check in desk with in five minutes. After another quick three minutes, we were off to have our Sea Pass photo taken and then we were welcomed aboard! Total time approximately 22 minutes from the time we got to the pier to champagne in hand. They do an excellent job!
The physical condition of the Summit was good. We noticed very few rips and tears in fabrics. We did not notice major signs of deterioration, although at the time we boarded, it was not as "clean" as we would have liked.
All over the ship, dust had accumulated; on seldom-used counters, on ledges of framed displays and art figurines, there were beverage rings on tables in the cocktail lounges, corners all around the ship were needing attention.
The awareness to detail is not happening upon this vessel, the staff was always giving the appearance of cleaning, but in reality; it appears to be somewhat an illusion.
One afternoon I sat in the Coffee Cova, and watched several staff members clean only when they saw or heard footsteps approaching. The laziness of employees cannot be helped I guess. This by all means is not meant to indicate that ALL employees were not performing their duties in a professional and conscientious manner, but from what we noticed there were quite a few that were guilty of not providing a full day for a full wage.
We sailed in Stateroom 9160, which you may know, has that great oversized balcony. Our Cabin Steward from Honduras, Jose came by to say hello and to see if we required any addition services, he has been with celebrity for twelve years. He was being assisted on this sailing by Larry. Once again, we noticed dust and dirt/grime on shelves in both the main compartment of the stateroom and the bath area there was debris that remained on the verandah for several days after the cruise started. The situation improved only after I had a discussion with Ms. Janine Woodruff, the Summit Front Office Manager.
The first night our stateroom was prepared properly and according to guidelines set forth by Celebrity was the evening that the Assistant Housekeeping Manager, Ms, Snelana "Yanna" Knitl took the time to oversee the evening set up, which came at the end of Day 8. The level of Jose and Larry's performance up to this point were barely adequate. After Ms. Knitl began monitoring, it greatly improved.
The first two days of this cruise were sea days, it was nice to sit and enjoy with no hustle and bustle. The sea was rather rough the first two days; in fact the guest relations, told us this was the first time in many weeks they dispensed so many anti nausea medicine. They also provided us with a trick, if you feel the motion; "Reduce the liquids you intake!"
The Food Buffet on the Summit was in our opinion scarcely acceptable; somehow, they turned simple scrambled eggs into a disaster; the watery egg dishes lacked flavor and were very unappetizing, the omelet stations throughout the ship consistently served over cooked and burnt product. We had heard from other passengers that the waffles were not as "crisp" as most would have preferred, although we do not know this for a fact as we did not try them.
Breakfast over all disappointed us. Lunch was slightly better, as it did offer variety.
At the beverage stations, the beverage dispensers were often empty or not brixed to proper specifications. The coffee on occasion was acid and clearly old; it appeared that it may be held longer than the brewing recommendations; we later learned the brand we had come to expect had recently been changed. In addition, we also learned it is possible the coffee machines themselves are not being calibrated on a ongoing regular basis.
We opted for late seating in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant, food was delicious and ample, and the wide verities of entr?e items were more than adequate. Our wait staff consisted of a wonderful team of Faruk who is from Turkey, who has been with Celebrity for six years and his very able assistant Deni from Indonesia were very eager to please.
We give Two Big Thumbs up for this team! The live stringed music in the dining room that we enjoy so much on previous cruises on Celebrity is no longer available except for formal nights; and then for only a few moments this was disappointing as it really was the virtual icing on the dining experience with Celebrity.Murath the Assistant Ma?tre'D was a disappointment, only in the fact he was not more personable. It was a rare for him to stop by our table for anything more than a quick "Bon Appetit".
We originally scheduled specialty dining for the evening of the 26th. Once on board, the Normandie Staff notified us that the room had a large reservation of 85 persons for that particular evening and asked if we would like to change to another evening as the dining room "may be very noisy".
We opted to change to the 28th.
The Normandie Restaurant lived up to its hype; the food and atmosphere were outstanding! The service was impeccable! The entire staff was able to keep us entertained with a balance of humor, charm, and professional decorum. The chef who is from Brazil is Ms. Conceicao Ferreira, is outstanding her version of Chateaubriand was superb! One person from our party ordered his well done and it was just as juicy , fork tender as the ones that were served medium and medium rare. This experience is a MUST if you sail on the Summit.
Panama Canal Transit
The Marvel that is the Panama Canal was outstanding! To witness, as it made its way through the docks was all we had hoped. The transit started before sunrise and we were able to enjoy an audio presentation that was piped throughout the ship as we proceeded thru the canal. We thought this was a very nice touch.
If you are on a voyage through the Canal and your ship has a bar or a room at the top of the ship facing the bow try to get there EARLY, as it fills up quickly.
There is a lot of humidity so it is best if you can be in an inside position with air conditioning, for the transit. For this event, the Summit opens the helicopter pad area, which is located behind the Celebrity Theater on deck 5.
This cruise on the Summit as a whole fell well short of our expectations. Towards the end of the cruise. Towards the end of the cruise, we did notice that there was an increase in cleaning activity and it seems the management team on board took advantage of my observations. The dust that was present through ought the first 10 days of our cruise was beginning to vanish. The stateroom was finally at the level that it should have been at day one. The biggest disappointment, for us was that we had to experience this inconvenience, and the fact that we did not get the full advantage of a 14 days of sailing in the standard we have come to expect from Celebrity.
In all probability, we will sail on the Summit again; however, it will be with trepidation.
The rating system is a simple one, based on a scale of 1-5 stars
1 Star = Unacceptable ? 5 Stars = Perfection
Condition and Cleanliness of Ship = 2.25 Stars
Food Quality Overall = 4.00 Stars
Food Serving Staff = 4.50 Stars
Stateroom- Cleanliness = 2.25 Stars
Staff = 3.00 Stars
Other On-Board Staff = 3.0 Stars
Final rating = 3.33 Stars
As with any review, it is subjective to the experiences of its author. These were our observations.
Respectfully submitted by:
Joey and David