Cruising the Celebrity Summit over Thanksgiving I expected the ship to be crowded, but it was not.
We booked our one week cruise on Celebrity Summit about three months before the cruise. The closer to the sail date the prices started to dropped drastically. When I booked, they were offering a good deal on an outside cabin guarantee with prepaid gratuity. We booked our air with Southwest using points, offsetting our vacation expenses, as this cruise was leaving out of San Juan over a holiday period.
A couple weeks before we left on our cruise, the prices on our cruise dropped. I called my travel agent and asked to be moved to a balcony. They were able to move me to a balcony, Concierge level C2 for no additional charge, but I lost my prepaid gratuity. We were ok with that, as I have never cruised Concierge level before. Concierge service includes priority check in and disembarkation, express luggage delivery, welcome sparkling wine, fresh fruit and flowers in cabin, pillow menu, complimentary tote bag, and evening hors d’oeuvres daily. We were assigned cabin 8060.
This cruise was port intensive, with only one sea day. We departed from San Juan and visited St Croix, St Kitts, Dominica, Grenada, and St Thomas. St Croix was our only new island we had never visited before. For this island we reserved a car through Budget, which was a short walk from the pier. We booked a half day sail to swim with the turtles and snorkel on Buck Island with Fury Sailing Charter on St Thomas. For the rest of the islands, we decided what to do once we were in port.
It was a busy week, but we enjoy cruising the Caribbean. It had been several years since our last cruise to the Caribbean, as we usually go to an island and stay for the week. We have never cruised Concierge level on a cruise and was looking forward to the upgraded service.
On our day of departure, it was 20 degrees outside. J dropped me off to check in. (I am glad I did not have to stand outside and wait for the shuttle with him.) Given that we used points from each of our Southwest accounts, the tickets were separate and I was able to check one piece of luggage (free on Southwest) before J got back to the airport. I don’t usually check luggage, but since I was buying liquor in St Thomas and would need to check the box on our return, I decided to check a bag.
We breezed through security and made our way to the gate. Once on board, we were not able to sit together, as it was a full flight. That was ok as they offered free WIFI for part of the flight (we lost it when we went over the water, which they told us would happen). The flight was only 4 hours and 10 minutes to San Juan. Arriving in San Juan they announced it was raining and 88 degrees.
Our luggage took forever to come out on the conveyor. They would let a couple pieces come out and then stopped the conveyor belt for 10-15 minutes and then start it back up. Now I remember why I don’t check luggage. It was close to an hour before we retrieved our bag and made our way to the taxi stand.
No one was waiting in line when we arrived at the taxi stand. They quickly wrote up the ticket ($19 plus $2 gas upcharge plus $1 per bag and tip.) Now that gas has dropped, I wonder if the $2 gas surcharge will stay?
It took about 30 minutes to reach the pier. I did not realize we would not be downtown (which is where we were located on our last cruise, several years ago). Instead, we were stationed about a $20 taxi ride away from Old San Juan. It’s a very isolated location, with nothing around. We were very disappointed that we did not get to walk around San Juan, but since it took much longer to arrive due to waiting for our luggage, we just opted to stay on the ship.
It was about 3:00 when we finally reached check-in. The peak rush was over and the other lines were not that long. There was a separate line for Concierge level, which took us right away. But after that, we waited in line like everyone else to get our pictures taken and to get on the boat.
We immediately went to our room to drop off our bags. The Concierge room is supposed to be larger but I could not see any difference. The Concierge Level was to include welcome sparkling wine, fresh fruit and flowers in cabin, pillow menu, complimentary tote bag, and evening hors d’oeuvres daily. There were no flowers in the room, but there was sparkling wine and apples. I never saw a pillow menu and the complimentary tote bag did not arrive until the next day. We only got hors d’oeuvres every evening if we filled out the form and hung it out on the door. I am glad I did not pay for Concierge service as I did not find it was worth it. For Concierge cabins you pay a higher gratuity fee.
Not much of a view from the balcony.
After looking around the cabin, we headed to the buffet for our first of many meals.
After eating a very late lunch, we explored the ship and changed our dining preference to anytime dining. When we booked the cruise, they only had late seating available. I knew I could change my dining time after I got on board, if I was willing to wait in the line with the many others who change their dining time. After taken care of changing our preference to anytime dining, we got ready for the muster drill. Later we went to the top deck and found a spot to watch the cruise ship sail out of San Juan. Tomorrow would be our first port, St Croix.