Embarkation is San Juan, P.R. was relatively painless and being in a suite allowed us some short lines, but with only one person manning the computer in our line, getting the sea pass cards dragged on a bit.
Once we were quickly on board at 11:30am and greeted with a sparkling beverage, we went directly to the new Bistro on Five for a relaxing lunch...at the time we were one of 3 couples dining. The food was VERY good and the atmosphere much more relaxed than the buffet area.
When we finished lunch we headed to Normandie to wait with other suite guests and were escorted to our cabin about one hour earlier than the announcement of cabin openings.
The Royal Suite was nicely appointed as expected with a grand deck with a Jacuzzi, deck loungers, and table/4 chairs. It had a door to the living room and a door to the bedroom. Inside the cabin, the dining room had a nice round table/4 chairs and bar area where 1 litre of Vodka/Scotch/mixers were provided as well as 2 litres of bottle water. the mini fridge was filled also. The living room was spacious and had a full size sofa sleeper and love seat and chair. Large flat screen TV hung on the wall and there were many cupboards throughout room for storage. The computer workstation had a chair, but Celebrity has removed the computer for some reason...wish they had not.
The bedroom was large with a separate well lit make-up/vanity area next to the deck door allowing natural light in by pulling back the curtains. Next to the bed was a porthole looking out onto the deck and overlooking the jacuzzi, the nice feature of this porthole was the automatic operating curtain the would lower/raise with the push of a button. The bathroom was large with marble surfaces throughout, two sinks, a high-tech jacuzzi tub, separate shower with glass doors and plenty of storage areas. the walk-in closet was a nice size with plenty of storage, but was smaller when compared to a closet in the same cabin class as on the century ship...matter of fact the Royal Suite on Century seemed bigger overall compared to this suite but Summit included the tub on the deck and nicer tub in the bathroom.
We enjoyed late afternoon cocktails on the aft bar while having an impromptu meet/greet with some from the CC roll call, it was nice seeing as Celebrity had scheduled our CC party on the first port day (St. Croix) at 10am...most including ourselves were off ship and at scheduled excursions.
Cellarmasters was nicely laid out and the bartender offered us an opportunity to buy a pre-purchased wine card for a given amount and since we bought it before sail-away it included a larger amount than what we paid as an incentive...we paid $100 for the card which included $115 worth of credit. the nice thing about this was anyone could use it/share by just inserting into the machine and selecting your wine/amount and filling your glass.
Michael's club was nice and had a craft beer section with a nice selection of beers from around the world. On this cruise it was pretty empty most of the time.
The Martini Bar seemed to be the place to be most evenings with a nice volume level of techno music that represented the atmosphere well and allowed comfortable conversation. The crowd age was mixed at all times we were there.Specialty dining in Normandie was pleasant and mirrored Murano's (Century) and S.S. U.S. (Infinity) as far as service. Qsine was a favorite of ours and is not to be missed by those who like to try different things, like ordering your meal on an ipad. Food was good, service was EXCELLENT, and presentation was eclectic. The chef stopped by to see how we liked it and asked if there was anything that could be improved upon...not to us at the time, we booked another seating for a few nights later.
We opted for select dining as shore excursions dictated our return to the ship and sometimes we opt to dine later than most. On this cruise we never ate before 8pm except for the Chef's table in the galley one night, but that was almost a 3 hour meal and included several courses/wines all prepared tableside by the Chef himself...Highly recommend this experience at least once, but be prepared to transport the 20lb cookbook gift back home.
We felt the food was a bit better in the MDR than past cruises and although service was a bit more frantic upstairs compared to downstairs, it was still pleasant.
We did not participate in formal evenings in the MDR since we elected to pack more casual for this trip and dressed resort casual each evening which included sport coat/slacks and dress/slacks/nice blouse. We also noticed the staff in Normandie and our butler no longer wore tuxedos/formal wear and now wore black suits/ties/white shirt for men and women in jacket/skirt or pants/white shirt. I asked the staff/butler about this and was told "they (Celebrity) changed our uniforms to this." It was a relaxed elegance about it and I felt it inviting. It appeared that Celebrity might be leaning more toward the Azamara model of resort casual wear and possible heading toward elimination of formal wear as a suggested dress.
Matter of fact, it appears Celebrity as a whole is targeting a younger, professional, more energetic cruiser as displayed in their advertising/venues/overall look.
We attended some of the live music shows but never went into the theatre. The band Fusion was great and put on a highly energetic pool party.