by D Wallis
November 23, 2007
We sailed the Summit 14 nt full Panama transit eastbound from San Diego to Ft Lauderdale on Nov 23, 2007. Embarkation was good although there was a long line-up getting onto the ship. Room was available as soon as we boarded at about 1 pm. This was our 5th Celebrity cruise. We are 50 plus, fit and adventurous. The itinerary itself was not very port intensive. This would be our only complaint as there were a lot of sea days. There's not a lot to do on board on those sea days if you're not into bingo or trivia games, etc.
Ports included Cabo San Lucas where we kayaked over to the rocks and Lovers Beach; Acapulco, we had a blast rafting down the Papagayo River (booked with ship); Huatulco, we hired a boat to take us to a gorgeous deserted beach (Organo) where the snorkeling was amazing; Puntarenas CR, we hired a taxi for a 4-5 hour tour which we enjoyed; cruising the canal in Panama with a brief stop at the Cristobel Pier; and the final port of call in Cartagena Columbia which is an amazing place to visit if you like history.
After sampling some less than great food two years ago, Celebrity shone on this trip. The food in the Cosmopolitan Dining was outstanding. The service, as always on Celebrity, was impeccable. The Waterfall buffet kept a varied and tasty menu we used for most lunches and breakfasts. Also sampled the grill fare and the pasta, sushi, and spa food bars. We have no complaints about the food whatsoever. The Grand Buffet had the best Beef Wellington on the planet, and the midnight chocolate buffet was the best we have sampled. We skipped the Tex-Mex night on the pool deck but enjoyed the fruit, chicken, ribs, and cookies on the Tropical Night. We enjoyed our first tour of the ships galley, arranged with the very personable Ass't Maitre'd. Very reassuring to see the degree of cleanliness, recycling etc., as well as the amazing food preparation.
Entertainment was very good. There may have been a new trainee on the sound board because frequently the singer would begin singing and for two bars there was no power in the microphone. The large Production crew (5 singers and 11 dancers) were very professional and not over-used as on some ships. We also enjoyed the magician, comedian, ventriloquist, hammer-dulcimer player, and baritone.
The gym is very well equipped and seldom full. Never a problem getting a machine. We enjoyed both the outdoor and the spa pool. Hot tubs were not hot until the last few days. Outdoor pool was usually a bit cool but we were happy with it in the hot sun.
Other than the lack of things to do on board (which was really not a problem since we were there to RELAX) there is nothing that went wrong with the Summit journey. Unfortunately, people get cranky going through the canal as they fight over who was here first and trying to take photos. This was surpassed only on disembarkation day! We had opted for the early disembarkation carrying our own luggage since we had early flights. We were supposed to present our card for this purpose at the gangway. They were never asked for and there definitely were several hundred people who just decided to leave early regardless of their assigned luggage tag color. We noted them looking for their luggage in the large warehouse as we hauled ours out. The Ft Lauderdale facility seems very inadequate and poorly organized. One elderly personnel was instructing American citizens to the left, others to the right. Then we hit a screaming woman who said just the opposite. There were only two lines for customs and it was a bit of a zoo. Unfortunately, while still on the ship and the 8:30 exit time passed, people were verbally abusive to the staff who had very little recourse as the port authorities were not ready. Not the best disembarkation we have ever experienced, but it really wasn't that bad, in spite of the angry hordes who would say otherwise.
Overall, a fantastic two weeks aboard a gorgeous ship.