Our family group of 13 booked this cruise through AAA MidAtlantic. Our agent, Susan Teza has assisted us in the past and we are very happy with her knowledge, experience, and prompt service. We arrived at Bayonne Cruise Terminal @ 11 AM. Our luggage was picked up right from the car and the embarkation process was quick and easy. With the pre printed boarding sea pass (from the Celebrity website), we were a short shuttle ride from the dock area right to the ship. There was no wait at the Captain's Club check in area so my wife and I were on the ship by 11:15 AM. The rest of our group was on board by 11:45 AM on the regular passanger line. The entire check in process was smooth and painless for everyone. The check in area had ship representatives from the specialty dining area, (where you can make dining reservations) purchase drink packages, sign up for the kids club, and schedule spa treatments. A refreshment table with cold water, fruit punch and lemonade in the waiting area was a nice touch. The buffet was open by the time we got on and there was sufficient space for everyone to feel comfortable. We just hung out until they made an announcement at 1 pm that the cabins are ready. Our luggage arrived before the muster drill. The sail away had a live band and coming out of NY harbor under the Verrazano Bridge was a very cool send off.
The two days at sea was filled with activities but most of us explored the ship and just chilled by the adults only, Thalassotherepy pool.
From reading prior postings, there were a lot of debate and confusion about this ship so I will try to address them here.
The Summit did go through a major renovation but it is still over 10 years old. There will be signs of age if you look close but it is not enough to make a difference. The crew is constantly cleaning and the ship is well kept and spotless. We had verandas on deck 7 and for some reason, the cabins felt smaller than on other Celebrity ships. Celebrity does enforce the Â½ hour rule for empty deck chairs but there were not enough outside loungers and chairs to accommodate everyone (the ship was full and felt crowed at times) by the outside pool areas on the sea days. However, if you move away from the pool & sun decks, there is plenty of space in other decks to sit outside. The Martini Bar and Crush does not have enough room (especially during popular times) and the placement of chairs near the walkway makes it difficult to pass through this area. The adult only, temperature controlled Thalassotherepy pool is a welcome alternative to being outside. The two level library is very nice but underutilized. Overall, the public areas are pleasant and appealing.
A special note about the staff and crew. You will be hard press to find a more active and engaging crew anywhere else. If you like to mingle with the Captain and his staff, you can find them at most events. As part of the daily activities, there were the informative Smithsonian lecture series and Captain Theo Zakkas even gave a slide show presentation on Summit's operations. The nightly shows are high energy and the comedian, Troy Thirdgill is very funny and a not to miss act.
IMO, the food remains one of my top attractions to Celebrity. It is not as good as it was but it is still worthy of recognition. There are enough selections and difference in variety to please everyone. The staff is very cognizant of customer service and will go out of their way to correct complaints. Not to miss are: Burgers at the Mast Grill on Deck 10; Fresh baked breads of every kind; the chocolate croissants in the morning; MDR- Cedar Plank Grilled Cobia Black Salmon; Grilled Tuna Steak; Braised short ribs; Lamb/Veal Chops; Oyster Rockefeller, The fresh 2 pound+ lobsters from Bermuda; the different salads every night are very good. Not enough room for desserts but from others who had them, they are also good. The Saturday brunch is very nice. For the adventurist: escargots (every night at the MDR) frog legs one night. Oceanview Cafe -- English breakfast with blood sausage; congee; Thai breakfast specials. Fresh made sushi, and stir-fry, are available in the late afternoons. Healthy cuisine is available at the Aqua Spa Cafe.
We booked a 4.5-hour group tour with Winsome Transport. Ralph Richardson took us not just to the highlights of his island but added a local flavor as well. He made inquiries of our interests and tailored his tour accordingly. His knowledge and insights gave us a better understanding of Bermuda's culture and its people.
The Dock Yards has a small beach but not much else to do there at night.
The disembarkation was smooth and well organized. Transportation pickups are done quickly and right by the docks. Overall, I would highly recommend this cruise as a great way to see Bermuda.