Our 7 day cruise was part of our trip that started flying from Manchester UK by Virgin Atlantic to Orlando, overnighting then driving Alamo to Ft Lauderdale and flying to San Juan a day later. All aspects other than my poor choice of a hotel in Ft Lauderdale were 1st class however please AVOID the Red Carpet Inn on State Road 84, Ft Lauderdale, it's awful!!!
On Friday lunchtime we flew by Air Tran to San Juan and a $20 taxi ride got us to our pre-booked accommodation, the Conrad Hotel, Condado Plaza in San Juan which was first class if anyone needs a room sailing from there. Great ocean view room, superb rustic eating places along the same street and we were at the ships terminal for a further $10 taxi fare.
Embarkation - this was very quick, I would say we were probably amongst the first 300 or so on board and everything was very smooth and as we were told cabins were still being cleaned we went to the buffet for some lunch. This was our third Celebrity cruise, the first on the Summit and as ever the first impressions of the food were excellent. Shortly into the meal the message came over the loud speaker that cabins were ready.
Cabin - We made our way to cabin 8035, a balcony cabin for us for the first time having previously had inside or window cabins. It was ideal, large enough for the two of us, sufficient space to hang our clothes and the balcony, not the largest, but certainly a real bonus as we looked out over San Juan and sipped a drink.
The cabin served us well all week, our cabin steward was very good and did his work well, just a couple of questions about various things and they were soon brought to you. I was initially concerned that the cabin being close to a lift area would be noisy however I was proved wrong and it wasn't at all.
Dining - we chose Celebrity Select Dining in the Main Dining Room. We also prefer to eat later on holiday and found this to our liking, a table for 2 always found by Alexandra who was excellent and soon got to know our needs and this combined with good waiters each night really helped the experience.
I have never ventured into a speciality restaurant on previous cruises nor did I need to on this cruise as the food in the MDR was excellent, well served and also from a menu with good choice daily. Possibly my only poor choice was a lamb meal that was certainly OK but possibly not of the high standard of the other nights choices. The Beef Wellington however was one of the best I have ever had and my wife was very pleased with all her choices. There was always sufficient and one night I could not decide on sweet so chose two and both were served without question and both were excellent.
We ate breakfast and lunch in the buffet daily and found the choice first class although I must say they seem to like bread pudding on this ship as it was served daily, possibly an American thing but a fruit crumble (cobbler) would have been a pleasant change. Tables were quickly cleared and cleaned which is good and it never seemed too busy even on sea day with a full passenger compliment. We saw only a few children on this cruise but all were well behaved and with parents or cruise kids staff so were of no issue at all.
Entertainment - we enjoyed all the shows, the singers and dancers were very good, comedian one of the best I have seen and the Canadian singer was very good. Other entertainment around the ship were also good, a great Uruguayan guitar player/singer, a Latin group my wife really liked, a pianist who was good but I miss this being in Michael's Club , on this ship it seems relegated to a TV lounge. The party band were good, the acapella group good on some numbers but not so on others but all in all very enjoyable. Cassie the Cruise Director was first class and the range of activities and entertainment very good. On the last cruise my wife suggested the addition of Zumba and there it was on Summit, both on deck and water Zumba in the pool.
Ports - enjoyed all ports and took private taxi tours on all islands with the exception of Dominica where we felt a little intimidated immediately having hit the port (similar to Falmouth, Jamaica on previous cruises) so we returned and had a leisurely day around the ship in the pool etc enjoying the good weather. We really enjoyed our tours of St Kitts and Grenada both with excellent drivers who knew their islands well.
Ship - having been on Millennium last year we could see the changes that have been made on Summit after it's refit and we thought it really benefited although the cleanliness was first class all round. I think Celebrity staff are always welcoming, helpful and above all want to make sure that you have a good time, we are not big drinkers and when in bars listening to music one would ask if we needed a drink and if we said no they would leave us alone rather than keep pestering which was excellent.
I was surprised that they were scrubbing the deck on sea day and asking you to move from the area as they did this, I am sure this could have been done on a port day but it was a minor inconvenience.
Disembarkation - we chose the ships Bacardi Rum tour as we had time to kill before our flight and also it dropped us at the airport, this meant we were off the ship relatively early, luggage loaded in the van and on the coach quickly for an interesting tour. A couple of tasters and chance to buy some very cheaply at the end was a nice touch. The coach then took us back to the airport for our flight back to Florida and the last 4 days of our vacation before flying back to the UK with Christmas shopping done in the outlet stores and malls in readiness for family Christmas back in the UK.
All in all a wonderful trip, a fantastic cruise and home fully relaxed, batteries charged ready for another hard years work to save up for our next trip and yes Celebrity we will be back and cruising with you.