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My return to sailing!

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I am so excited to share that I was FINALLY able to get back on a ship! My last cruise was on the Celebrity Equinox in January, 2020. On Sept 30, 2021, my daughter Erin and I stepped foot on the Celebrity Summit. The walk down the gangplank onto the ship was exciting and slightly emotional. Crew members were cheering us onboard….such a great beginning to our return.

This was a last minute cruise for us. My wonderful husband told us to book the cruise on Sunday, the 26th. The ship departed Miami just four days later! We decided to drive from Orlando Wednesday afternoon and spent the night at the Hilton Downtown Miami. We had an incredible room with a view of the port. The hotel was basically empty and being a Diamond member with Hilton, we got a free upgrade. On Embarkation Day, we woke up to a view of our beautiful ship.

Within walking distance is a Publix for last minutes snacks, beverages for your room or forgotten items. Erin found a great restaurant for a late lunch/early dinner, Casablanca on the Bay. It is also within walking distance and on Wednesday has a fabulous happy hour and free oysters! We ordered roasted octopus, drinks and multiple plates of oysters….soooo good!

We had an 11:30am time slot for embarkation. We decided to leave the hotel around 10:30 to give us time to drive to the port (all of 10 minutes away), park in the structure directly across from the pier and walk over. We arrived about 10:45. After delivering our luggage, we entered the terminal and proceeded directly to checkin. After a brief check of our vaccination cards and Covid tests, we were directed upstairs to checkin where our documents were checked once again. Embarkation had already begun, so we were able to proceed directly onboard. We stepped foot onboard for the first time in 20 months by 11:20am! Crew members, including Cruise Director Sue Denning, were waiting for us with cheers and waves. It was an emotional moment.

Celebrity has changed the manner in which they deliver room keys….this started before the pandemic. We were able to go directly to our cabin, collect our room key (which was waiting for us outside the door) and drop off our carryons. The Summit was updated prior to the shutdowns….I love the new decor and bathrooms.

it was now time to go explore and get a refreshing beverage (or two!).

We had already watched the new muster drill video at the hotel, so all we needed to do was go to our muster station and check in. Easy peasy….done in 5 minutes! If you aren’t familiar with this new protocol, you can learn about it here: https://wordpress.com/post/zest4travel.wordpress.com/2489

We had not sailed on a Millennium class ship in several years. Summit was actually our very first cruise ship back in 2006 when we sailed from Seward, Alaska. It was fun to refresh our memory of the layout and see what changes had been made. I loved the new design of the Oceanview Cafe…..so open and easy to maneuver around. When the ship is back to capacity, it will be much easier than the old cafeteria style layout. The staff are incredible….they could not do enough to make us happy. If you want something that isn’t in plain sight, just ask….if at all possible, they will make it happen.

The entertainment staff had lots of fun activities planned for our 4 day cruise. Poolside dancing, game shows throughout the cruise, nightly shows and several entertainers around the ship. There was a Full Moon White Party (which had to be held inside due to rain) and of course, the iconic and always amusing Silent Disco.

Our only port was Cozumel, which we had not been to before. A trip to the beach would have been fun, as the water was beautiful.

We decided to just walk around the port for a little while and returned to ship to enjoy the pool and an almost empty ship.

One of our favorite restaurants is Sushi on Five. After having appetizers in the main dining room, we enjoyed sushi and the specialty cocktails one evening. The chef even prepared some off menu ones for us (which unfortunately I did not get photos of).

Our waitstaff in the main dining room were great. We mentioned how much we loved scallops….the next night, they brought us a special plate FILLED with freshly sautéed scallops. So Good! And our sommelier went above and beyond to find us wines that complemented our meals. She even poured us some “out of package” ones to try. Miguel made us a special dessert plate on our last night. Again….the crew are amazing.

One of the things that makes Celebrity so special is running into crew members who remember you from previous cruises. We had several on this cruise….bar staff, wait staff, Cruise Director Sue Denning and our all time favorite Captains Club hostess, Rose. These are the people who make you feel like you have returned home.

All to soon, it was time to depart the ship and return home. The Summit was a wonderful return to sailing for us. If you are “on the fence” about returning to a ship….DO IT! I honestly feel that ships are far safer than land based hotels or airplanes. Celebrity is going above and beyond to keep the ship clean and crew and passengers safe.

Until next time…..fair winds and following seas!


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