by Ernie Grossman
Media and Travel Agent Inaugural
September 28, 2001
We were delighted to have the opportunity to sail on the all too brief two night Media and Travel Agent Inaugural on board Celebrity's appropriately named Summit. We sailed from Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale in the early evening, Friday, September 28th and returned early Sunday morning.
I can report, first, that security measures at the Port entrance and during embarkation at the pier are stringent… a pronounced increase from the norm, and quite welcomed by most! We were required to prove we had business in the Port before we were permitted to drive in and our luggage was thoroughly checked at the pier. We were asked for our photo identification not less than 3 times from our first entry into the pier until we embarked the Summit. Celebrity has many additional security measures in place and the atmosphere in the pier and on the ship was totally relaxed.
It is not unusual for one ship of a class to stand out from the others… and, in the case of Millennium class vessels, the Summit's the one. She's the culmination of all that was learned in the development of the Millennium and the Infinity. Celebrity has blended tradition and superb ship design advancements to great effect on the Summit. What a special vessel she is!
At first glance, Summit is little different from her two sisters… her basic statistics being virtually identical. She's 91,000 gross registered tons, 965 feet long, 105 feet beam and holds 1,950 passengers… a remarkable space ratio of 46.6; nothing different here. Also, I have always felt that the Millennium class vessels have an ungainly look on the outside… from a distance there is a distinct absence of smooth flowing lines one associates with new passenger vessels. It is curious but from the outside she's almost an ugly duckling. But that's where it ends. Inside, we have an elegant, beautiful Princess!
Staterooms on the Millennium class ships are spacious and well designed, with all the amenities one comes to expect in ships of this caliber. Every cabin has a safe, mini bar (refrigerator), large lavatories with Celebrity's typical large shower area, loads of closet and drawer space. Standard Ocean View and Interior staterooms measure a comfortable 170 square feet. Upwards of 80% of the cabins on Summit are Ocean View and 85% of those have balconies. These cabins range from 170 to 191 square feet with balconies of varying sizes. And, Summit offers no less than 4 categories of suites ranging in size up to 1098 square feet. We had a Category 2C, forward, on the Penthouse Deck and it was delightful. (Secret: Cabins numbered 6016-6046 and 6021-6051 have great oversized balconies that are just delightful! We had 6030.)
The public rooms and facilities on board Summit are chic, elegant, warm and inviting. This is unbridled elegance entwined with superb taste and an eye toward utility. The ship works! Where to begin… well… how about dining venues? The Main Dining Room, the Cosmopolitan is a remarkable two-story restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows and ocean views. The Grand Staircase sweeps majestically down to the main level where one is greeted by the famous statue.
"La Normandie"… from the famous French liner of the thirty's and forty's the Normandie, recently resurrected from an ignominious location in the Fountainbleu Hotel in Miami Beach.
The restaurant is stunning… tables well spaced and a very low noise level. Service in the Cosmopolitan was warm, friendly and efficient… a trait we found everywhere on the Summit.
Speaking of the Normandie, the Summit's Specialty Restaurant is so named… The Normandie Restaurant. The entrance is a repository of memorabilia from the original vessel and is a pure delight. The restaurant itself contains some original wall panels from the Normandie. This is just not to be missed by anyone who loves the sea or the ships that sail on it. Except for a special "invitation only" dinner, the Normandie Restaurant was only open for inspection during this short cruise. Word from folks who have sampled the service and fare in the Specialty Restaurants on board the Millennium and Infinity has been generally excellent. The venue is so stunning that I would be happy to spend a few hours at a table if they were serving bread and water!
The Waterfall Cafe and Grill… Summit's buffet restaurant is beautifully laid out with plenty of bay window tables offering great views of the sea. We found the food here, and in the main restaurant, to be excellent… no surprise on Celebrity!
Other features of the Summit are exactly in line with what you would expect on this class of vessel. A magnificent Aquaspa, huge and beautifully equipped, with loads of indulgences available, none of which I can even come close to pronouncing, is standard issue on Celebrity. Michael's Club is large, warm and inviting. I loved the great Martini Bar (and great Martini's)! Nearby is the Champagne Bar and both venues are extremely popular before dinner.
Cova Cafe Milano offers a great cup of coffee and some exotic desert pastries. And, there is Notes… the great Music Library where you can select and sample music from an extensive collection of CD's; its soaring two deck high ceiling and too comfortable arm chairs make Notes a great place to pass a bit of time with yourself.
I loved the Conservatory. So nice to sit up there… I felt transported back to another era on some of the great liners of the past. It's hard to say what is so attractive up there… just try it… you'll see.
Revelations, Celebrity Theater, Rendez-Vous Lounge, the Card Room, The Tower, The Internet Cafe, Words, Fortunes Casino, Fun Factory, The Emporium… it goes on and on. And, here and there throughout the Summit are great "nooks and crannies"… small spaces in which to nestle, away from the world… adding to the remarkable small ship "feel" of the Summit.
Two nights and three days were hardly enough time on this engaging vessel. She'll be sailing great ten and eleven night itineraries to the Southern Caribbean, followed by a trans-Canal, a fling to Hawaii and Alaska. I would be hard pressed to think of a ship I'd rather be on. Celebrity has gotten it exactly right with the Summit.