I sailed last week aboard the Summit to Bermuda, and my family and I had a lovely time. I was with my boyfriend and my parents (who sailed to Bermuda on Chandris and Celebrity for 14 straight years back in the day) I had not been on a Celebrity ship in about 18 years and I think I was really able to appreciate how good they are. I have sailed on Carnival, Princess and NCL over the years, and was especially disappointed with the Gem to Bermuda last year.
Embarkation: My first time leaving from Bayonne. We were concierge class, so there was virtually no line. I'd say we were on board 15 minutes after we got dropped off. Stress free and happy is the best way to describe the experience.
Ship: I don't know what the Summit looked like before, but I liked the ship a lot. She didn't feel "too big", and the lounges and bars all had a nice newness to them. The public areas were constantly being cleaned, especially the bathrooms.
Cabin: Our cabin was a good size with tons of storage space. I liked the balcony, however the overhang blocked out much of the sky views that I usually enjoy. I'm thinking of going one deck lower next year to see if it's better. Our cabin steward was adequate. Rooms were always taken care of, we didn't see too much of him. No complaints.
Food: I thought the MDR was very good. Maybe I've been exposed to sub-par food for too long, but I thought most items I ordered were good. Maybe not the chicken I ordered one night, but our waiter did offer to change it for me. Our waiter and busboy (Table 312) were great. Not too intrusive, and always watchful for our reaction to the food. If we seemed unhappy, Christo would ask if we were OK. He actually knew I wouldn't like the Beef Wellington I ordered and brought me out chops as well (good call!). I wasn't overly impressed by the buffet, however I am just not much of a buffet person. There is a brunch buffet in the MDR on the last sea day. In my opinion, it was a bit confusing to navigate and I would have skipped it if I knew it was a buffet. I should have also listened to my waiter when he told me to show up at 11:00. Too much chaos at 10:00. I thought the maitre'd's were a big presence in the dining rooms. Very friendly with the passengers. We had lunch in Bistro on Five one day - leave room for the nutella & banana crepes!
Normandie: I highly recommend this restaurant. We had reservations in Qzine, but my parents didn't seem enthused by the "experience dining" idea, so I switched us to Normandie. The food, service and atmosphere are worthy of high praise. We also went there for High Tea and it was another charming experience. Next year, I'll book Normandie and Quzine.
Shows: I really enjoyed the entertainment. Our comedian was Michele Balan. She was hysterical! I loved our Cruise Director Sue Denning. Her One Woman Show is not to be missed. The crew talent show was awesome too.
Bermuda: One of my favorite places to go. There was a mini transportation strike on the last day, but we had planned on staying close to the ship anyway. We had 3 days of sunshine in Bermuda, much different from 6 days of rain on our last cruise. I love that there is much to do and see in Bermuda that doesn't require being on an expensive tour. The buildup of Snorkel Park is a nice improvement to King's Wharf.
When we sailed, there were events onboard called "Excite the Senses" that had to do with wine and food. I went to a wine tasting and a wine and food pairing, and just wish I could have done more. I would love to see Celebrity have these on future sailings and advertise them as booking incentives.
I don't particularly like to fly to cruise, so I've limited myself to leaving from the New York area. I am so happy and relieved that Celebrity has returned to us. I do love Bermuda, but I hope they will bring up other ships for other itineraries. We were booked back on the Summit within 4 days of returning last week (yes, we were that happy). I'm booked back on Concierge Class again, however I'm not sure there were huge perks with that. We called the Concierge desk on two different occasions for minor issues, but never reached anyone. We got forwarded to guest relations, but both times, the phone wasn't picked up.
Celebrity's reputation for class and elegance is richly deserved. Aside from a 4 night cruise on the CCL Glory in August, I don't think I could or would book on a different line. While they are not perfect, they are worthy of their reputation. Crew, Staff, dining, lounges, the passengers, etc - all exceeded my expectations.