, pub-4365197612565232, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Walt Disney World [Day 1] - Coronado Springs Resort

With our Celebrity Summit cruise over, it was time for the next part of our holiday vacation.... we're going to Walt Disney World!

Aaron's parents were flying back to Albuquerque that morning, and their flight left around the same time as ours, so we shared an Uber to the airport. On the way over, I realized that American Airlines (their airline) and Delta (our airline) were on different ends of the airport, so I modified the ride to add a second stop.

On the way to the airport, I realized that we had been upgraded to First Class! I had booked Comfort+ for this flight because it's a very short flight from Miami to Orlando. Since I booked higher fare class tickets, that meant we got bumped to First Class when they oversold Basic Economy and/or Main.

The app didn't update our boarding passes to include Sky Priority, but we were still able to use the Sky Priority lane to check our bag.


I also checked at the gate to see if we could board with First Class or if we needed to wait for Comfort+ (because our boarding group hadn't updated either), and the gate agent said to board with First Class.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Celebrity Summit Christmas Cruise - Rating & Review

Celebrity Summit Rating and Review

Our sailing on the Celebrity Summit was our first ever Christmas Cruise with Aaron's parents. It was also Aaron's parents' first ever cruise. We wanted to give them a taste of cruising with a 5-day itinerary. Aaron's parents are Catholic and wanted to attend Catholic Mass on Christmas, so we chose to sail with Celebrity because it is one of a few cruise lines that guarantees a Catholic Priest on its Christmas sailings.

This was also my first cruise on Celebrity. I am a Diamond Crown & Anchor Club Member on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and I was excited to sail on RCCL's "more sophisticated" sister line. Also, Celebrity matched my Diamond status as Elite Captain's Club, so I was able to experience some loyalty perks, despite this being my first Celebrity cruise.

Celebrity Summit

The rating system is based on ten nine (you'll see) components of a cruise vacation which I find important - itinerary, ship novelties, pools, activities, dining, bars and lounges, service, design and aesthetics, and stateroom.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Celebrity Summit Christmas Cruise - Glad I Did / Wish I Did

I've found that Glad I Did/Wish I did posts are a great way to quickly share with others what worked and what didn't on our cruise. They're also really helpful to refer back to over the years when preparing for our next cruise.


Glad I did NOT bid on a Stateroom Upgrade

I was very tempted to bid on a stateroom upgrade. There were Concierge Class upgrade bids starting at $100 per person. However, after some research on the Concierge Class, I learned that there wasn't a big incentive to upgrade to Concierge Class on the Celebrity Millennium Series ships. The stateroom is no larger than a standard stateroom. The only extra features are a Celebrity embossed key holder and an "Exclusive Welcome Aboard Concierge Class Lunch" (we actually would have enjoyed that lunch). Also, I had selected a neighboring stateroom with Aaron's parents. I would have bid to upgrade Aaron's parents as well, but there was no guarantee that our rooms would still be next to one another, and there was also a risk that one stateroom would get upgraded while the other would not. It's a risk that I've taken with my family in the past, but give that it was Aaron's parents first cruise, I didn't want to accidentally get our staterooms moved to opposite ends of the ship.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Celebrity Summit Christmas Cruise - Post-Cruise Miami

 Sad day - departure day! On December 27, we arrived back in Miami.


There was a thick fog over Biscayne Bay.


We were once again docked next to the Scarlet Lady which was also sailing 5-night voyages.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Celebrity Summit Christmas Cruise - [Day 5] At Sea

Our fifth and final day of the cruise was at sea. Unfortunately, it was another gloomy day - so much for hanging out by the pool!

We went to lunch in the Cosmopolitan Dining Room at noon. It was only open for lunch from 12:00 - 1:30 PM.

I realized that this was a good opportunity to get photos of the dining room. Our table was on the fifth floor (upper dining room level), so we didn't have a good view of the center of the dining room.


I think the dining room looks much better during the day than at night, but perhaps that's only because we were seated on the dimly lit upper level.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Celebrity Summit Christmas Cruise - [Day 4] Grand Cayman

Good morning, it's Christmaaaaaassss!!!

Unfortunately, Aaron's mom still wasn't feeling so well, so she wasn't able to go to Catholic Mass at 8:00 AM in the theater with Father Gallagher. Aaron's dad said that it was a complete Catholic Mass with communion, and there were about 100 people in attendance.


We ate breakfast that morning at Ocean View Cafe and sat outside where the Sunset Bar is. We had a lovely table in the corner, but while we were eating breakfast, this large family decided to start taking photos on the rail behind me and kept switching out people in the photos... all the women, all the kids, this family, that family... they were right behind my chair, and there's no way I wasn't stuffing my face with eggs in their family photos.


Originally, I booked the "Queen Elizabeth II Royal Botanical Park & Pedro St. James" excursion through Celebrity. We were going to visit the botanical park and gardens, then enjoy an afternoon tea service at the Great House. It sounded like the perfect excursion for our group.

Then one week before the cruise, I received an email from Celebrity that our cruise excursion was canceled "by the local tour operator due to unforseeable operational limitation." When I went to search for a new excursion, it looked like a lot of the tours had been canceled (perhaps due to it being Christmas Day). My search criteria was no snorkeling, no small boats, no dolphins or stingrays, and no Hell (we didn't think that Aaron's parents would enjoy going to Hell on Christmas Day).

Unfortunately, there were no tours that met all of the criteria.... so we were going to Hell.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Celebrity Summit Christmas Cruise - [Day 3] Best of Cozumel

Day 3 of our cruise was Christmas Eve. We arrived in Cozumel bright (errr cloudy) and early at 7:00 AM. We docked at the International Pier with the Adventure of the Seas.


We sailed on Adventure of the Seas for our second Shinglebells Christmas Cruise. It's also the first cruise that I blogged about!


We headed to the Cosmopolitan Dining Room for breakfast as soon as it opened at 7:30 and were greeted by a friendly face - Dipo, our server at dinner! He sat us at a table by the window in his section.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Celebrity Summit Christmas Cruise - [Day 2] At Sea

On our first sea day, we woke up to cloudy, drizzly weather.

We had planned to eat breakfast in the dining room at 9:30, but realized too late that we had confused the breakfast time with the Ocean View Cafe. The dining room was only open for breakfast from 7:30 AM to 9:00 AM. Ocean View Cafe was open for breakfast from 6:30 AM to 11:00 AM (includes "continental breakfast," "breakfast buffet," and "late breakfast").

So back to the buffet we went.


The breakfast food was okay. I don't have the patience to wait in the make-your-own-omelet line. It was unfortunate where they placed the omelet bar, though, because the line for omelets wrapped in front of the food stations, so you had to squeeze in through the people waiting for omelets just to get eggs.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Celebrity Summit Christmas Cruise - [Day 1] Miami Embarkation

Rise and shine, it's Embarkation Day!

I should listen to my own advise because I didn't allow enough time to get my camera gear ready to go and found myself rushing to repack my bag. It's always a bit awkward because the things in my backpack for the plane aren't the same thing I want in my backpack to board the ship. So I try to shuffle things around, and nothing fits quite right.

I got an UberXL to take us from the hotel to the cruise terminal ($14). If you're a party of four people with suitcases, make sure to order an UberXL rather than an UberX so that there is room for your luggage. This is because a vehicle just needs the third seat fold-down option to be considered XL, so if you need to put suitcases in the trunk, you won't be able to use the third row seating in smaller SUVs. If you have more than four people and luggage, you'll want to order two separate UberXs.


It was a very short 8 minute drive to the pier. We were at Terminal G, one of the Royal Caribbean terminals.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Celebrity Summit Christmas Cruise - Pre-Cruise Miami

We flew into Miami the day before the cruise, December 21. Flying in the morning of the cruise is risky, and I proved that by missing my flight and almost missing the cruise a few years ago.

I originally started looking for flights in July, right after we booked the cruise. Initially, there were only nonstop flights on American Airlines, but ideally I wanted to fly Delta because I was pursuing Silver Medallion (also every time I fly AA, I say that I will never fly AA again). I set up Google Flight Tracker to track flights from LAX to MIA. A few weeks later, a new nonstop Delta flight from LAX to MIA appeared, and it was very affordable. I booked Comfort+ seats.... then the next day, I was playing around with the Delta change flight feature and realized that I could rebook First Class for only an additional $125 per person. I decided that this would be a nice surprise for Aaron and a fun way to kick off our vacation.

About a month before our flight, I got an email from Delta saying that our original flight was canceled, but they rebooked us on another flight. Unfortunately, we were no longer nonstop and would be connecting in ATL. Also, while our arrival time remained the same, our departure time now moved from 10AM to 7AM. The good news is that we were booked in First Class on both flights. I was worried that Aaron was going to catch onto my surprise when they emailed him about the rebooked flight, but luckily it went unnoticed. I also thought that he may notice the day before our flight when he checked in on the app, but again, he didn't.

It wasn't until we were at the airport. I took us into the Sky Priority lane to check our bag, and I was sure by then that he had caught on. "Merry Christmas!" "Is this for your status stuff?" "No, I upgraded us to First Class!" Had I known that the Sky Priority line hadn't given me away, I think we could have made it to the gate, and he wouldn't have noticed until waiting for them to call our Boarding Group. After the news sunk in, Aaron was very excited.... or as excited as one can be at 6AM - it was a good surprise.


In addition to our checked bag (Away Medium Checked), we each had the Away Bigger Carry-On. Aaron packed his suit and blazer in the Seyfocnia Garment Bag which rolls up into a duffle bag. We're skeptical that this actually qualifies as a personal item, but we didn't have any issues this trip... possibly because we were in first class, but also Aaron took the duffle off of his rolling bag and carried it on his back which made it look pretty unimposing (a hack that wouldn't work for someone my size). My personal item was my Brevite Camera Bag. I also used a magnetic hat clip to bring along my hats.