Sailing Summit

Recently, my wife and I embarked on a Panama Canal cruise leaving from our home town, San Diego, California. Our last ocean voyage was on a small three masted Clipper ship. We loved the experience and were uncertain about sailing on one of the mammoth ships that prowl the seas today. Our home for the next fourteen days was to be the Summit, the newest Millennium class star of Celebrity Cruise Lines. Our itinerary from San Diego included Cabo San Lucas and Acapulco in Mexico, Puntarenas, Costa Rica, transit of the Panama Canal, Oranjestad, Aruba and our disembarkation port, Ft.. Lauderdale, Florida. We knew the passage included a lot of time at sea and we weren’t sure what to expect. In fact, what happened: Summit became our favorite “port of call.”

At the efficient dockside check-in we were handed travel documents and identification cards. The IDs are credit card sized “passports” used for security purposes and the cashless system for onboard purchases. As part of the boarding process, all passengers are escorted to their cabin; a very nice touch. The accommodations are spacious, with plenty of closet and drawer space, desk, couch, mini-bar, a large bathroom with shower, and a roomy balcony with two chairs and table. All staterooms have a wall safe, individually controlled air conditioning, interactive TV, VCR, telephone with voice mail, robes, and hair dryer. On our queen sized bed we found our first Summit Daily which provides guests with hourly activities, daily events, port information and dining times. From sunrise ‘til the DJ closes the disco, there is always something happening aboard Summit.
Exploring the ship for the first time, we experienced surprise after surprise. We located the restaurants, lounges, Emporium, (a shopping mall), library, cinema, cigar bar, Broadway style theater, casino, grand foyer, reception and information desks, jogging track, pools, spa, children’s camp, video games, listening and reading rooms, plus nooks and crannies with wonderful views. On each of the 11 decks, we discovered works of art in every medium; original paintings, sculptures, crafts and photographs. One of the most delightful discoveries was the beautiful conservatory featuring fresh flowers, live trees, plants and floral arrangements. An island of green aboard ship. Clearly, we were on a vast floating resort.
The old joke is that one goes on a cruise as a passenger and gets off as cargo. The new paradigm has Celebrity Cruises offering heart healthy meals, low fat gourmet selections, an incredible spa with fitness opportunities, and shore excursion options that make it possible to eat sensibly and keep physically active throughout your vacation. Summit offers a choice of restaurants for every meal, as well as 24 hour room service. Breakfast is served buffet style at the Waterfall and AquaSpa Cafés, along with a “sit down” option in the spectacular tiered Cosmopolitan Restaurant. Delicious freshly baked pastries, exotic coffees, espresso, etc. are also served at the Cova Café. Lunch locations include the above mentioned spots, plus the Pool Grill featuring hot dogs and hamburgers. Dinner is served during two seatings at the Cosmopolitan Restaurant, with alternative dining available at the casual Waterfall Grill and the elegant Normandie Restaurant. In addition to meals and snacks throughout the day, there are traditional afternoon English high teas and “gourmet bites” late at night. At every meal, there are “Lean & Light” menu options which meet the recommendations set by the American Dietetic Association and American Cancer Society. In addition, vegetarian, diabetic, low sodium, low cholesterol and kosher meals are available. Master chef and cookbook author Michel Roux oversees the award winning menus, revising and updating them every six months. No wonder cruise.com. recently rated Celebrity the #1 cruise line for dining.

Keeping well fed is no problem aboard Summit. Nor is keeping fit. There is the 10,000 square foot spa featuring various massage therapies, saunas, showers and a fitness center. In the gym one finds state-of-the-art equipment for cardiovascular workouts: bikes, weights, treadmills, stairmasters, Nordic track, elliptical and rowing machines all with panoramic ocean views. The same deck has one indoor and two outdoor pools, plus six whirlpools. There are daily exercise and Yoga classes. On the Sports Deck one finds a full-size basketball court, paddle tennis, and volleyball court. On the Sunrise Deck there is a golf simulator and jogging track. On the Promenade Deck there is a walking/jogging path plus shuffleboard. Shore excursions also offer options to keep passengers active. At most ports one could go snorkeling, hiking, swimming, scuba, biking, kayaking, horseback riding and, of course, shopping (it’s a stretch but walking counts!).
Days at sea were idyllic and sybaritic and usually followed the same leisurely pattern. We slept ‘til 8 AM or so, exercised, used the sauna and then it was off to the aptly named Resort Deck where we ate breakfast, picking our favorite fruits and other healthy dishes from both buffets. Shorts and casual wear are fine during the day but most evenings, when not in port, we dressed (coat and tie for me and skirt and blouse for my wife). There are several “formal” nights, but a dark suit is acceptable for men. Mid mornings consisted of joining some of the scheduled activities or lounging on deck reading.
For lunch we usually chose from the buffets. Afternoons were spent either dropping in on a lecture, watching a matinee or taking our books to a quiet spot to read, relax or nap. Late afternoon, I slipped away to the 7/24 Internet Café where I was able to send travel updates to friends and family and begin working on this article at one of the 18 workstations. Several times throughout the trip, free computer classes demonstrating the use of email, Internet, Word and Power Point are offered. It’s another nice touch from Celebrity Cruises.
Most nights, we ate dinner in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant.

The nightly fare features a choice of appetizers, soups, salads, entrees and a dessert tray laden with decadent choices. There is a “Chef Presents” menu of recommendations each evening, coupled with a “Wine Steward Suggests” list focusing on appropriate wines with each course. Nightly, we would head to the 900 seat state-of-the-art Celebrity theater. Every evening, they present delightful Broadway style productions or variety acts. After the show we would end the day with a long, leisurely walk under the stars.
Although we enjoyed the ports, Summit stole the show for our vacation; days filled with activities for all tastes, opportunities to play or relax and evenings filled with glorious food and wonderful entertainment. It was the center of attraction, the heart of the trip, the journey travel dreams are made of.

Celebrity Cruises Info

The ships of this line are sleek and sophisticated with many elegant touches. Summit, Infinity and Constellation make up their Millennium class, the most technologically advanced ships sailing today. The smaller Century Class ships include the Century, Mercury and Galaxy. The Horizon and Zenith round out the fleet. Amazingly, the average age of the fleet is only 4 years. Currently Celebrity calls at more than 100 ports and destinations around the world while following the sun. Check their website, www.celebritycruises.com, for itineraries, prices and specials or call 1-800-327-6700 for information and brochures.

Summit Fun Facts

When the Summit is completely full there are 1,950 passengers and 1000 crew. There are 780 outside cabins and 195 inside. The ship is 965 feet long and each anchor weighs 10 metric tons (there are two with a spare!). From San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale we traveled 4805 nautical miles (a nautical mile equals 1.15 land miles). There are more than 400 original works of art onboard Summit and Celebrity Cruises’ has the largest corporate collection of contemporary art in the U.S. The toll for the Panama Canal transit was $181,000. The following are supplies used during an average seven-night cruise: 24,000 pounds of beef, 14,000 pounds of fish, 26,000 pounds of fresh vegetables, 15,000 pounds of potatoes, 20,000 pounds of fresh fruit, 600 quarts of ice cream, 9,000 dozen eggs, 2,000 pounds of cookies, 3,400 bottles of assorted wines 200 bottles of champagne, 200 bottles of gin, 300 bottles of vodka and 10,000 bottles/cans of beer. Ecological notes: Celebrity Cruises is the first to incorporate smokeless gas turbine propulsion, which reduces ship’s exhaust emissions by up to 95 percent. They recycle aluminum cans, glass and metal. And, finally, there are 120 staff members in the kitchen preparing and cooking meals. What happens to the leftovers? At midnight the staff has a meal together!

Travel Tips, Suggestions and Things What You Might Want to Know

Food-wise, we had favorites aboard the Summit. The Normandie Restaurant is a must. This intimate spot depicts the art deco design of the original S.S. Normandie including authentic paneling and artifacts. The exceptional five course meal is well worth the $25 surcharge. “Elegant Tea” is served weekly onboard Summit and features finger sandwiches, pastries, scones, breads, cookies, hand dipped chocolates and of course, tea. A stringed quartet adds to the ambience of this festive event. Warning: the almond croissants at the Cova Café are absolutely addictive.
Entertainment options extend beyond the Celebrity Theater. Pianists and string quartets present light jazz and classical music in both the Cosmopolitan and Normandie Restaurants. Nightly, the Rendez-Vous Lounge, Revelations Disco and the Waterfall Grill feature bands, combos and singers. For quiet entertainment, “Notes,” a music library with listening stations is a great spot to sit and relax. The dining rooms, theater and outdoor deck on the starboard side are non smoking areas. In spite of the size of the ship, we were delighted with the crowd control and lack of lines.
If you’ve sailed with Celebrity Cruises at least once, by all means join their Captain’s Club which is a loyalty program that reaps pre-cruise and onboard benefits. The Family Cruising Program, available during summer and seasonal sailing periods, is designed for trans-generational families with specific activities tailored to the interests and needs of each age group.
Although the trip is considered by most to be “inclusive,” there are a few additional costs. Some items that you need to budget for include air transportation, transfers, personal purchases, shore excursions, liquor, some spa and fitness services and gratuities. Keep in mind that the service level aboard ship is equivalent to a four or five star hotel. The cabin and wait staff are well trained, attentive and most deserving of the tips they earn. Finally, there is shopping in port and aboard Summit. Every few days we would head for the Emporium, 14,000 square feet of kiosks and boutiques, featuring everything from cruise mementos to designer clothes. (Hint: don’t miss the watch sales!)
The cabins are all non smoking. Each cabin possesses an interactive TV and passengers can access their shipboard account, book excursions, order room service, catch up with the news and watch movies or videos at no charge. Every evening there are chocolates on the pillow, a weather forecast for the next day and, if necessary, time change reminders.
Pack photo copies of your driver’s license and passport and a small folding bag for purchases. The library aboard Summit is well stocked so there is no need to bring books. However, before leaving for a trip featuring great food and exciting destinations, my suggested reading list would include Who’s Killing the Great Chef’s of Europe? by Nan and Ivan Lyons and Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis. Both are fun and fanciful with an air of sophistication and were also made into movies. Check your video store and Bon Voyage.
by Howard Hian

Recently, my wife and I embarked on a Panama Canal cruise leaving from our home town, San Diego, California. Our last ocean voyage was on a small three masted Clipper ship. We loved the experience and were uncertain about sailing on one of the mammoth ships that prowl the seas today. Our home for the next fourteen days was to be the Summit, the newest Millennium class star of Celebrity Cruise Lines. Our itinerary from San Diego included Cabo San Lucas and Acapulco in Mexico, Puntarenas, Costa Rica, transit of the Panama Canal, Oranjestad, Aruba and our disembarkation port, Ft.. Lauderdale, Florida. We knew the passage included a lot of time at sea and we weren’t sure what to expect. In fact, what happened: Summit became our favorite “port of call.”
At the efficient dockside check-in we were handed travel documents and identification cards. The IDs are credit card sized “passports” used for security purposes and the cashless system for onboard purchases. As part of the boarding process, all passengers are escorted to their cabin; a very nice touch. The accommodations are spacious, with plenty of closet and drawer space, desk, couch, mini-bar, a large bathroom with shower, and a roomy balcony with two chairs and table. All staterooms have a wall safe, individually controlled air conditioning, interactive TV, VCR, telephone with voice mail, robes, and hair dryer. On our queen sized bed we found our first Summit Daily which provides guests with hourly activities, daily events, port information and dining times. From sunrise ‘til the DJ closes the disco, there is always something happening aboard Summit.
Exploring the ship for the first time, we experienced surprise after surprise. We located the restaurants, lounges, Emporium, (a shopping mall), library, cinema, cigar bar, Broadway style theater, casino, grand foyer, reception and information desks, jogging track, pools, spa, children’s camp, video games, listening and reading rooms, plus nooks and crannies with wonderful views. On each of the 11 decks, we discovered works of art in every medium; original paintings, sculptures, crafts and photographs. One of the most delightful discoveries was the beautiful conservatory featuring fresh flowers, live trees, plants and floral arrangements. An island of green aboard ship. Clearly, we were on a vast floating resort.
The old joke is that one goes on a cruise as a passenger and gets off as cargo. The new paradigm has Celebrity Cruises offering heart healthy meals, low fat gourmet selections, an incredible spa with fitness opportunities, and shore excursion options that make it possible to eat sensibly and keep physically active throughout your vacation. Summit offers a choice of restaurants for every meal, as well as 24 hour room service. Breakfast is served buffet style at the Waterfall and AquaSpa Cafés, along with a “sit down” option in the spectacular tiered Cosmopolitan Restaurant. Delicious freshly baked pastries, exotic coffees, espresso, etc. are also served at the Cova Café. Lunch locations include the above mentioned spots, plus the Pool Grill featuring hot dogs and hamburgers. Dinner is served during two seatings at the Cosmopolitan Restaurant, with alternative dining available at the casual Waterfall Grill and the elegant Normandie Restaurant. In addition to meals and snacks throughout the day, there are traditional afternoon English high teas and “gourmet bites” late at night. At every meal, there are “Lean & Light” menu options which meet the recommendations set by the American Dietetic Association and American Cancer Society. In addition, vegetarian, diabetic, low sodium, low cholesterol and kosher meals are available. Master chef and cookbook author Michel Roux oversees the award winning menus, revising and updating them every six months. No wonder cruise.com. recently rated Celebrity the #1 cruise line for dining.

Keeping well fed is no problem aboard Summit. Nor is keeping fit. There is the 10,000 square foot spa featuring various massage therapies, saunas, showers and a fitness center. In the gym one finds state-of-the-art equipment for cardiovascular workouts: bikes, weights, treadmills, stairmasters, Nordic track, elliptical and rowing machines all with panoramic ocean views. The same deck has one indoor and two outdoor pools, plus six whirlpools. There are daily exercise and Yoga classes. On the Sports Deck one finds a full-size basketball court, paddle tennis, and volleyball court. On the Sunrise Deck there is a golf simulator and jogging track. On the Promenade Deck there is a walking/jogging path plus shuffleboard. Shore excursions also offer options to keep passengers active. At most ports one could go snorkeling, hiking, swimming, scuba, biking, kayaking, horseback riding and, of course, shopping (it’s a stretch but walking counts!).
Days at sea were idyllic and sybaritic and usually followed the same leisurely pattern. We slept ‘til 8 AM or so, exercised, used the sauna and then it was off to the aptly named Resort Deck where we ate breakfast, picking our favorite fruits and other healthy dishes from both buffets. Shorts and casual wear are fine during the day but most evenings, when not in port, we dressed (coat and tie for me and skirt and blouse for my wife). There are several “formal” nights, but a dark suit is acceptable for men. Mid mornings consisted of joining some of the scheduled activities or lounging on deck reading.
For lunch we usually chose from the buffets. Afternoons were spent either dropping in on a lecture, watching a matinee or taking our books to a quiet spot to read, relax or nap. Late afternoon, I slipped away to the 7/24 Internet Café where I was able to send travel updates to friends and family and begin working on this article at one of the 18 workstations. Several times throughout the trip, free computer classes demonstrating the use of email, Internet, Word and Power Point are offered. It’s another nice touch from Celebrity Cruises.
Most nights, we ate dinner in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant.

The nightly fare features a choice of appetizers, soups, salads, entrees and a dessert tray laden with decadent choices. There is a “Chef Presents” menu of recommendations each evening, coupled with a “Wine Steward Suggests” list focusing on appropriate wines with each course. Nightly, we would head to the 900 seat state-of-the-art Celebrity theater. Every evening, they present delightful Broadway style productions or variety acts. After the show we would end the day with a long, leisurely walk under the stars.
Although we enjoyed the ports, Summit stole the show for our vacation; days filled with activities for all tastes, opportunities to play or relax and evenings filled with glorious food and wonderful entertainment. It was the center of attraction, the heart of the trip, the journey travel dreams are made of.

Celebrity Cruises Info

The ships of this line are sleek and sophisticated with many elegant touches. Summit, Infinity and Constellation make up their Millennium class, the most technologically advanced ships sailing today. The smaller Century Class ships include the Century, Mercury and Galaxy. The Horizon and Zenith round out the fleet. Amazingly, the average age of the fleet is only 4 years. Currently Celebrity calls at more than 100 ports and destinations around the world while following the sun. Check their website, www.celebritycruises.com, for itineraries, prices and specials or call 1-800-327-6700 for information and brochures.

Summit Fun Facts

When the Summit is completely full there are 1,950 passengers and 1000 crew. There are 780 outside cabins and 195 inside. The ship is 965 feet long and each anchor weighs 10 metric tons (there are two with a spare!). From San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale we traveled 4805 nautical miles (a nautical mile equals 1.15 land miles). There are more than 400 original works of art onboard Summit and Celebrity Cruises’ has the largest corporate collection of contemporary art in the U.S. The toll for the Panama Canal transit was $181,000. The following are supplies used during an average seven-night cruise: 24,000 pounds of beef, 14,000 pounds of fish, 26,000 pounds of fresh vegetables, 15,000 pounds of potatoes, 20,000 pounds of fresh fruit, 600 quarts of ice cream, 9,000 dozen eggs, 2,000 pounds of cookies, 3,400 bottles of assorted wines 200 bottles of champagne, 200 bottles of gin, 300 bottles of vodka and 10,000 bottles/cans of beer. Ecological notes: Celebrity Cruises is the first to incorporate smokeless gas turbine propulsion, which reduces ship’s exhaust emissions by up to 95 percent. They recycle aluminum cans, glass and metal. And, finally, there are 120 staff members in the kitchen preparing and cooking meals. What happens to the leftovers? At midnight the staff has a meal together!

Travel Tips, Suggestions and Things What You Might Want to Know

Food-wise, we had favorites aboard the Summit. The Normandie Restaurant is a must. This intimate spot depicts the art deco design of the original S.S. Normandie including authentic paneling and artifacts. The exceptional five course meal is well worth the $25 surcharge. “Elegant Tea” is served weekly onboard Summit and features finger sandwiches, pastries, scones, breads, cookies, hand dipped chocolates and of course, tea. A stringed quartet adds to the ambience of this festive event. Warning: the almond croissants at the Cova Café are absolutely addictive.
Entertainment options extend beyond the Celebrity Theater. Pianists and string quartets present light jazz and classical music in both the Cosmopolitan and Normandie Restaurants. Nightly, the Rendez-Vous Lounge, Revelations Disco and the Waterfall Grill feature bands, combos and singers. For quiet entertainment, “Notes,” a music library with listening stations is a great spot to sit and relax. The dining rooms, theater and outdoor deck on the starboard side are non smoking areas. In spite of the size of the ship, we were delighted with the crowd control and lack of lines.
If you’ve sailed with Celebrity Cruises at least once, by all means join their Captain’s Club which is a loyalty program that reaps pre-cruise and onboard benefits. The Family Cruising Program, available during summer and seasonal sailing periods, is designed for trans-generational families with specific activities tailored to the interests and needs of each age group.
Although the trip is considered by most to be “inclusive,” there are a few additional costs. Some items that you need to budget for include air transportation, transfers, personal purchases, shore excursions, liquor, some spa and fitness services and gratuities. Keep in mind that the service level aboard ship is equivalent to a four or five star hotel. The cabin and wait staff are well trained, attentive and most deserving of the tips they earn. Finally, there is shopping in port and aboard Summit. Every few days we would head for the Emporium, 14,000 square feet of kiosks and boutiques, featuring everything from cruise mementos to designer clothes. (Hint: don’t miss the watch sales!)
The cabins are all non smoking. Each cabin possesses an interactive TV and passengers can access their shipboard account, book excursions, order room service, catch up with the news and watch movies or videos at no charge. Every evening there are chocolates on the pillow, a weather forecast for the next day and, if necessary, time change reminders.
Pack photo copies of your driver’s license and passport and a small folding bag for purchases. The library aboard Summit is well stocked so there is no need to bring books. However, before leaving for a trip featuring great food and exciting destinations, my suggested reading list would include Who’s Killing the Great Chef’s of Europe? by Nan and Ivan Lyons and Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis. Both are fun and fanciful with an air of sophistication and were also made into movies. Check your video store and Bon Voyage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.