We left at 7:30AM for our drive down to Staten Island. The weather was beautiful sunny all the way and hot, it is a good thing we have air conditioning in the van. We do stop every 2 hrs to walk around. We had breakfast at Perkins in Plattsburg, love that place. We did get a shock when we crossed the bridge going to Staten Island, it was $12. Luckily we don't pay on the way out.
We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn on Staten Island. We took the stay/park/cruise package that let us leave our van for 14 days at the hotel and including a shuttle to and from the port of Bayonne, NJ. We had a H/C accessible room with a roll-in shower, I am glad to see that hotels, as they renovate, are including rooms with roll-in showers.
This hotel does not include breakfast, so we brought muffins as we new we would be eating as we boarded the ship.
We ordered the shuttle for NOON. It took about 15 minutes to get to the port. The porters took our suitcases and we kept the carry-ons. We went through security with no problem and then got in line to pick up our room keys. All in all it took about 15-20 min and we were ready to board the bus. At Bayonne, you must that a short ride from the terminal to the ship. Once at the ship, you board on deck 2. We wanted to go to Bistro on Five for lunch and we were meeting our friends Vicki & Bob there. The cost for lunch is $5.00 well worth it to skip the buffet when everyone has their carry-ons, it is hard to find a place to sit. At Bistro on Five, it was so relaxing, we get served, and it is just a great place to eat when you are starting your cruise.
After Muster Drill, I had organized, with the Cruise Critic Roll Call for this cruise, to meet at the bar AFT deck 10 for a Sailaway. The weather was great, we had sun all of the time we were out there. This is a nice place to meet people you have been writing to on the boards, for over a year and to finally put faces to their names. I had made name tags for everyone it makes it easier to find each other.
Our first dining was tonight in the Main Dining Room called Cosmopolitan Restaurant. We are at table 333, a table for 4, which is an easy access for Norman and Vicki with their scooters. Vicki's son was on the Summit a few cruises ago and made arrangements for this table with the Maitre'D, we are very pleased with the location and there is even places to park the scooters.
Celebrity Showtime: Opening Night where you get a sample of what is to come during the cruise.
We were up early this morning as we have lots to do today. I ordered breakfast from Room Service, it just makes it easier when you are in a hurry.
We had our Celebrity Connection Party hosted by Celebrity. Each member from the Cruise Critic Roll Call registers and then Celebrity sends an invitation of where and when we are meeting. The Captain greeted us and said the Cruise Critic Members are very special to him. He even reads our roll calls. The Captain is inviting us up to the bridge for a tour, so the event coordinator will be sending us a letter so we can sign up. Then Jason (our Cruise Director) spoke a bit then turned the mike over to Vicki who was running a gift exchange. Everyone that brought a gift was given a number and then when their number was called they would go up and introduce themselves and pick a gift. You could also steel a gift if you liked what someone else got. It was a lot of fun. The gift should represent the area where you come from.
Next on the agenda was a Cabin Crawl where various people would show their cabin. The organizer would then choose different style cabins so we get a chance to see other cabins. We were given the list of cabins (which ours was one of them) to view. We were walking all over the ship. We saw many different category cabins.
After lunch, there was a Slot Pull for our group and 27 joined in. One of the slot machines is chosen and we each put in $15.00. We each had 10 pulls. At the end we divide any profits. Well today we just broke even but had a great time doing it.
All the organizers put lots of time and effort to make these events a success. We want to personally thank each of them for doing these activities. They are a lot of fun.
Elite cocktail at 5PM, it is held in the Revelations on Deck 11 Forward. This is the first time we have seen so many Select members, still the service is great. We usually take a couple of glasses of wine before dinner, since our dinner is at 6PM
Tonight Vicki made reservations in the Normandie Restaurant for the 4 of us. Tonight being formal night, if you eat in a specialty restaurant, then men do not need to wear their suits or ties. We had a wonderful dinner with lots of special attention. You do get special attention in the main dining room but you get extra special attention in a specialty restaurant.
Captain's Gala & Toast and Celebrity Showtime: Stars in Their Eyes. Our Captain Panagiotis Mantzavinos, will introduce his senior management. Then we all toast to a great cruise. This part we missed as we got to the theatre late. There were so many people, all the seats were filled. I did manage a seat at one point. The production show was great, Celebrity always have great production shows. We have never been disappointed.
We woke up in Portland, this morning with blue skies not a cloud in sight. As the day progressed the clouds came and came and became darker but nothing else happened while we were there. The temperatures are in the lows 70s F or 21C. It is comfortable for touring. The seas, except for the first dinner, have been very calm; we don't feel the ship moving. We are having a great time with our friends Vicki and Bob. The Summit now has Wi-Fi all through the ship, so it is nice, don't need to carry around my laptop, I can do everything from my stateroom.
We had breakfast in our room as I have a walking tour for 10:30AM. Norman is staying on the ship.
I met Vicki and Bob at 9:15AM to head out to meet the walking tour. It was a private tour called Maine Foodie Tours and our guide was Randy. We met at the Old Port Wine Shop located at 223 Commercial Street. It was quite a walk from the ship, so Bob and I took Maine Pedicab which will take you all over, a person pedals a bike and we sit in the back, there is place for 2. We met Randy there and we started our tour there. This shop sell home made specialty spices that the proprietors have developed over the years. We had a taste of some pates on crackers with spices sprinkled over it, it was delicious. We also sampled some of their wine. We were 8 in our group and the maximum that they will take is 14, so just the right amount for a walking tour. After the sampling we started our walk, at first it was uphill for a few blocks but then it levelled out, so not too bad. As we are walking, Randy is pointing out some of the highlights that we are seeing and the architecture. Our next stop was the Farmstead Goat Cheese where the Maine artisan cheeses come from local farms again we had some tasking of local cheeses, very good, I love cheese so this was a nice stop for me. Next we passed other memorable buildings and statues that Randy gave us some of the history. Our next tasting was Stonewall Kitchens where we tasted the best blueberry preserves on scones. Our next stop was the Harbor Fish Market, where the fishermen bring their catch of the day. One of the fishermen dropped some bait and the seagulls had a feast. We went inside the market where Randy showed us a real lobster and explained how to determine their sex and explained how the traps work. We then sampled some Maine smoked seafood; I was not too impressed with this tasting. Our next stop was Dean's Sweets where they make their own chocolate. We were able to sample some of their chocolates, while we were doing that, Randy went and got us some original whoopie pies to sample, they are delicious. Our last stop was Shipyard Brewing Co. where they handcrafted their ales. We also got to sample a few of their ales. This tour was recommended to me by Vicki and I would highly recommend it to anyone who visits Portland.
I was very tired after all that walking, about 3 1/2 hours, so had a little nap when I got back.
Elite cocktail, was full again tonight. It is nice to see so many loyal Celebrity cruisers.
Celebrity Showtime: Singer, Impersonator and Musician Travis Turpin. He is a good entertainer, sang lots of our favourite songs.
This stop is a tender port, so we decided to skip it and stay on the ship. The weather again is beautiful sunny and lows 70s F or 21C. We slept in and went for a late breakfast. We are just enjoying the relaxing day.
Elite cocktail all showed up. Our waiter is going to put our wine down at our table to reserve it.
Celebrity Showtime: The Music and Humour of Virgin Records Recording Artist, Doug Cameron. He played the violin a large variety of music, from classical to jazz & from Celtic to country.
Cannot believe the luck we are having with the weather, it is a t-shirt day, sunny. We were delayed getting off the ship because the immigration did not clear the ship until close to 10AM. I did call our driver to tell him we would be late.
We met our driver Mark outside of Pier 21. It was a handicap accessible van so Vicki could just drive in. Norman did not come today; Bob and I sat on the seats in the van. Mark took us for a city tour around the Citadel and some of the neighbourhoods, then we drove out to Peggy's Cove, it is a bright and sunny day. There were lots of tour busses there already. Bob and I did venture out on the rock a little bit. Mark asked us if we would like to taste some fresh lobster, of course, we all said yes. He called this place where they only sell lobsters and cook them. We all had a 1 pound and 1/4 and it cost us each $13. (I did take a photo of it). It was so good, I am not a lobster lover but I think now I have changed my mind. On our drive back we passed other parts of the city and stopped at the cemetery where the bodies recovered from the Titanic are buried. After our tour, Mark dropped us off at the pier. The charge was $45/hour and we did 4 hours. Mark was very informative and I would recommend him if you need a handicap accessible tour.
Elite Cocktail, full as usual, found out that there is 430 Elite on this cruise.
Celebrity Showtime: Michele Balan is from New York City. She is a great comedian, one liners one after the other and we were laughing all the way through. This was our 3rd time seeing her and we enjoyed her just as much.
Unbelievable the weather, another sunny hot day mid 70sF or 20sC.
Today my private tour was organized by Pat from the UK. We were 12 going on this tour and we had 2 Dodge Caravans. I was in van 2 and our driver was Barbara. Since we are here for a short time, we will go up to the Cabot Trail to the Ingonish area which consists of about a 6 hour tour. We did some stops at scenic look-offs to take in the sights and for photo taking. The person who is driving van one is Don and he is a Retired Executive Director of the former Cape Breton Tourist Association, so he has done this many times over the years. We even crossed on a cable ferry which took a couple of minutes to cross. The drive is just beautiful scenery and once we got to Ingonish Beach we stopped for lunch at the Main Street Restaurant & Bakery. I had a clam chowder which was delicious. Our way back was much of the same. We all had a great time and we had great drivers/tour guides.
When we got back to the port, there was a singer Ruth MacNeil (no relation to Rita), who was signing beautiful songs, she even sang as we were leaving the port to send us off.
Elite Cocktail, our drinks were waiting for us. It was nice to see.
Celebrity Showtime: Lovena Fox who is a singer, actress and songwriter. Unfortunately, we were so tired that we skipped the show and went back to our room. I heard she was wonderful.
Woke up again to a beautiful sunny day, with temperatures in the low 70sF or 20C. Looked out our balcony and saw the red cliffs going buy.
We met Vicki and Bob in the Normandie Restaurant for the Elite Breakfast. It is on every morning from 8 to 10AM. I love the smoothies and the cappuccinos.
After the ship was cleared we made our way to meet our driver for our private tour. Norman joined us today. We had an h/c small bus that could take both scooters. Jason was our driver; he first took us around Charlottetown showing us some of the main buildings, churches which seem to be on every corner of this particular block. Then we drove out to the South side to see the red cliffs and beach. We all took lots of photos. Then we headed to the North side to see Anne of Green Gables, we visited the house and took lots of photos. We then went to a small fishing village which was very quaint. We went to another beach where the cliffs are still red but the sand here is more beige colour. We had the bus for 4 hours at $50/hr. Jason was very informative, funny and entertaining. We all had a great time.
When we got back we headed to the buffet to have a late lunch.
Elite Cocktail, our drinks for the 4 of us were waiting on our table. Our waiter remembers us every night.
Celebrity Showtime: Stars of the Summit Showcase with Georgia, Maria and Nick from the Production Cast who share some of their favourite songs. This was the first time they were doing this showcase. They were good.
We had another beautiful day until evening when we had lightning and thunder which only lasted a short while. This cruise so far, we have had the best weather one could ask for and the seas have been very calm that I sometimes have to look outside to make sure we are still moving.
Today Vicki and Bob invited us to their AFT balcony for lunch. The room steward put a nice white tablecloth on the table. We watched the wake of the ship, so calming. We chatted, took photos of each other, and then placed an order for lunch with room service. All our food was delivered to our table. It was nice a relaxing, quiet. We might do it again on another sea day.
Today was the Captain's Club Celebration. There so many Captains' Club members (1,110) that they had to make two presentations to the ones that have cruises the most with Celebrity, so there was one presentation for first seating for the couple who had the most points and another presentation for the second seating for the couple who came in second. The Celebrity Orchestra was playing, people were dancing, food was being served and the waiters were serving drinks. When we came into the Revelation Lounge, the Captain and his officers were there to great us. It is always a nice time.
Tonight was our second formal, so the four of us went to Qisine for dinner. Qisine is a specialty restaurant that is different in their presentation, portions, just lots of surprises as you will see in the photos that I took during our meal. We all enjoyed the experience.
Celebrity Showtime: Sirens a production show where an unsuspecting pirate crew find three mystical mermaids where you are invited under the sea for a night of burlesque and fantasy. They had very colourful costumes which made it more enjoyable. Celebrity production shows are great, they should not be missed.
We arrived in Quebec City at 8AM and were cleared soon after. It was a little cooler than we had during the last ports but it has been sunny and no clouds. Our temperatures finally reached 70F or 19C. It was just a beautiful day.
Bob and I picked up the van that I reserved at Avis about 3km from the port. When we got back, we realized that it was not good for Vicki so Vicki and Bob rented a taxi for 5 hours and we found another couple that did not have plans, Pat & Walt who we met on our shuttle from the hotel to the port. The six of us took of in two vehicles to the Montmorency Falls. We went to the bottom first, the falls are impressive but our taxi driver told us that the falls did not have as much water as usual because of the dry summer we have been having in the East. We could see that the lake below the falls was pretty dry. Vicki, Bob, Pat and Walt took the lift up to the top and Norman and I plus the taxi drove up to the top to meet them. I did not want to walk on the suspension bridge but the taxi driver encouraged me to do it and he took photos of me in front of the top of the falls. The others were on the other side of the bridge waiting for us, a miss communication, but we all found each other and were ready to continue with our day. Next we were going to the Saint-Anne Basilica but first I wanted to find the plaque that was erected in honour our my first ancestors Jean Doyon and Marthe Gagnon's where they farmed after coming to Canada from France in 1644. We found it not far from the Auberge Baker, actually the owner had to point it out to me. A lot of photos were taken of the plaque and me by everyone. My nephew, Mark, found it a few years back. It was a little hard to find, but was glad we did. Now off to the Basilica. When we got there, there were so many people, I think everyone from the area plus all the tourist were there so we decided to skip it for this time and we were off to our final destination, Ile d'Orleans. We could not believe the traffic on the bridge, car after car after car both ways. Once we got on the other side, the traffic disappeared, it was unreal. We stopped and Vicki and Bob decided it was time to return to the ship, so we said good bye to them and we proceeded to the Chocolatier to see what that was about. That place was full also, it was more of an ice cream place so we had a soft ice cream with chocolate covered, it was so good and the chocolate was so thick, Pat, Walt, Norman and I had never had that type of topping. After that we headed back to the ship, again when we got to the bridge, it was jammed packed with cars. We got back to the ship and dropped off Norman and Walt. I had asked Pat if she would come with me to return the van. I was glad she did as it was little creepy in the underground garage. We were back soon after just in time for our early dinner.
During dinner, the Captain announced that, because of bad weather expected at Gaspé, that he would cancel Gaspé and give us an extra day in Quebec City and we will have three sea days to get back to Bayonne, NJ to be back on September 22nd. We were happy about that.
Celebrity Showtime was cancelled and in its place would be a movie. We decided to call it an early evening since we would be doing lots of walking tomorrow.
Woke up this morning, with blue skies and cool temperatures but it would be climbing to 72F/22C. Today we were meeting Vicki and Bob at the Elite Breakfast at 9h30AM so we would get an early start into touring Quebec City on foot.
We did lots of walking around the lower City then took the Funicular up to upper city where the Chateau Frontenac is located. It was extra special for me to see it as my parents spent their honeymoon there. We visited the shops, listen to a street singer. I took lots of photos. It was a pleasant day and we got back around 3:30PM. It was a full day but a good day with our friends.
We met again at the Elite Cocktail to talk about our day. We are having a great time.
Celebrity Showtime: Antonio Salci, he is a musician, composer, producer, and arranger. He was fantastic and the Celebrity Orchestra met him at 4PM with his music arrangements for this show and the first show was at 7PM, unreal how these musicians learn it so quickly.
Today the skies are a little overcast but it is about 68F/20C out so just nice weather to go out. We met Vicki and Bob at the Elite Breakfast as it is easier it is on the same floor as we get off the ship. Our plan for today is to visit the Museum of Civilisation. It is very strange we see the Museum from our ship but the terminal walkway is so long before we get to the street. We arrived at the museum and found out that wheelchair people are free, this was the second thing that was free for wheelchairs, the Funicular was also free for wheelchairs. This museum is very different. The first exhibition we visited was the Samouraï and was able to take photos. The next one was People of Quebec...Then and Now seeing lots of photos of what it looked like around Quebec City, Montreal and other places. Next was the Radio-Canada A Story to Follow, seeing how our radio and TV have evolved over the years. Next was the Encounter with the First Nations and where they are located in our Province of Quebec and where they are located in our Province of Quebec. Next The World of Michel Tremblay it illustrates the range and depth of this celebrated Quebec playwright and novelist.
We walked back to terminal, here there are four checkpoints to get back to the ship. In the terminal there is free Wi-Fi. It started to rain no long after we were on the ship. Our timing was very good.
Elite Elegant Tea was being held in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant. We had not had lunch and it was 3PM so we had some of the lovely canapés, scones and deserts they were offering and of course various teas to choose from. Very well done.
Elite Cocktail as usual our drinks were waiting for us on our table. We had great conversations with our friends.
Diner was next, we were not very hungry, so had a bit of everything but not all.
Celebrity Showtime: Gary Arbuthnot in "Stage and Screen" he is an international Virtuoso and he highlights incredible musical scores from contemporary movies, Broadway and opera to some of the biggest rock and pop groups of the modern era.
We skipped the show and we were tired from our three days of Quebec City so we went back to our cabin watched a little TV and went to bed early.
Today is one of our three sea days returning to Bayonne, NJ. It is raining hard out, the pools are all closed. The high today will be 59F/15C. At 10AM we were just rounding the corner out of the St. Lawrence Gulf into the Atlantic Ocean. It is still relatively smooth sailing. We had late breakfast.
Beyond the Podium Smithsonian Speaker Jim Kennedy - The Future of NASA, Why should I care. He was very informative and made you want to care and showed us where NASA is still strong just changing.
Beyond the Podium Interest Speaker: Tim Calvert - The Great Cruise Liners of the Past which covered the cruise ships from the 1800s to today.
Elite Cocktail: Our drinks awaiting us and our friends, Vicki and Bob joined us. We talked about our day then Jason, our cruise director, joined us for a few minutes before we left for dinner.
Celebrity Showtime: The Hilarious Comedy Talents of Steven Scott. He has been described as a mix between Jerry Seinfeld and Jim Carey. His comedy combines clever observations of his everyday life with his amazing vocal talents and include an array of characters, voices and sounds ranging from celebrities to musical instruments. If you have a chance to see Steven, he puts on a great show. He did appear at the Montreal's Just for Laughs.
This is sea day two and it is cloudy and raining, we were so lucky to have had clear skies while in the ports. Today is another relaxing day, getting up late trying to recuperate from our hectic port days.
We skipped breakfast and went and had lunch in the dining room. We had Pai Tai it was wonderful. It is nice to dine in the dining room and to be served. This we will miss once we are home, all the attention you get while on the ship.
We went to Beyond the Podium Special Interest Speaker: Tim Calvert "Yachts of the Rich & Famous". Here we saw Yachts of presidents, royalty and very wealthy. Also we saw some of the largest Yachts.
Tonight is another formal, but we will be going to the Normandie once again on a two for one special that was arranged by our Head Waiter. Before dinner it is the Senior Officers 'Cocktail Party' where the Select and Elite gather for some music, dancing, all of the head of departments and Captain are in attendance. This party is separated between the two dining hours.
Celebrity Showtime: iHollywood with the production cast and orchestra presenting an evening of spectacular music from the silver screen to the blockbusters of today. It was another great production show. It is amazing to see the dancers and singers change costumes so quickly, it is seamless.
Today is last sea day and packing day. We spoke with our cabin girl Philomena, she is wonderful.
Celebrity puts on a BRUNCH in the dining room, it is usually very spectacular but we did not go, I find it too hard to get the two plates and walking to all the stations to get what we want. We did a simple lunch; we went to the soup and sandwich bar at the Buffet.
Back to our room to pack. I seem to have more space coming back then going which is unusual. We spent a relaxing afternoon with our balcony door open. It is still raining but it is nice to be able to have some sea air.
Elite Cocktail, this will be our last one until our next cruise in January 2013.
We said goodbye to our waiter Hugo and assistant waiter Marco after diner and we thanked our head waiter for arranging the deal last night at the Normandie.
Celebrity Showtime: Farewell Variety Show with Gary Arbuthnot, Maria & Georgia part ofN the production cast and maestro Antonio Salci. Another great show tonight.
After the show, we said our goodbyes to Vicki and Bob, we had such a great cruise with amazing friends and we will see them again August 31, 2013, until then...
We arrived in Bayonne as planned; our departure from the ship was scheduled for 9:30AM. We got ready and went to the Normandie where the Elite departure room was located. They were serving croissants and pastries with coffee. By time we left the ship the bulk of the people were already gone so it made it easier for us, with carry-ons to board the elevator. In Bayonne, we have to take a short ride from the ship to the terminal. Once in the pick-up area, I called for our shuttle and we returned to the hotel to retrieve our van and start our drive home.
We stopped in Albany, NY to do some shopping, we stayed overnight.
We had a great drive home, beautiful weather.
This was a great cruise, great friends, great weather, it was just perfect. In every port we had blue skies and the only rain we had were the last three days at sea which did not bother us. The service on the Summit was excellent as usual. The Solticizing was done nicely. Our cabin was redone, the bedding, TV, carpeting and drapes all new. The shows were all great, good production shows, good entertainers. We had a great time with our friends Vicki and Bob which made this cruise more special.
Until the next time...
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