This was our sixth Celebrity cruise, our third on the Summit, and our first with our children and grandchildren. We stayed at the Hampton Suites in Isla Verde teh night before the cruise, and it was an excellent choice. Close to the airport, a great pool for the kids and a delicious full breakfast - all at a very fair price. And within walking distance of lots of restaurants for dinner the night before the cruise.
Embarkation was quick and easy. The staff was efficient and friendly from the first moment. We had originally booked a concierge class room for my husband and me, but a family veranda became available for an additional $400 so we grabbed it. These staterooms are usually only available for parties of five or more, but when not booked, can be taken by anyone. We'd done the same thing on our last cruise on the Summit and because our cabin 9156 was aft and on the corner, we had an enormous balcony and living area that we thought would be handy for entertaining and hanging out with the other seven adults and two children that were cruising with us. It was also great for having the grandkids sleep over since the living area can be converted into a private sleeping area. Our attendant, Edwin, was great! Always available when we needed him, but never in the way.
Since this was the first cruise for our children and grandchildren, we had a lot of activities planned on the islands. We snorkled with turtles on Barbados, privately chartered a catameran on St. Lucia (You rock, Mystic Man Tours!), sailed and snorkeled on a pirate ship excursion and visited beaches and towns on the other islands.
The Summit is lovely after it's refurbishment. A mid-sized ship - big enough to have lots to do, but not overwhelming. The entertainment was decent, not spectacular. The musicians in the lounges were wonderful One of the best surprises was the kids program, the Fun Factory. The three kids with us, ages 10 and 5, had so much fun there that we sometimes had to drag them out to participate in family activities. Jaime, who I believe was the crew member in charge, was absolutely fabulous with the kids! We'd met her at muster night where she explained the kids' program to us, and it was all she said and more. On our last night, the kids of all ages had a talent show for the parents which was a blast. Everyone had a talent, from singing to hula-hooping - everyone was a star!
The major issue we had with the ship was the decline of the meals in the main dining room. Our previous experiences had been so good that we'd not felt the need to eat at any of the upgraded restaurants. But this time, the service and the food quality itself in the Cosmopolitan were big disappointments. And we are not major foodies. Perhaps it was due to the Select program where you can eat whenever you want rather than having a set dining time and table like we usually do. Some diners entrees would be arriving before others had received their appetizers. It seemed very disorganized. We did eat a couple of times in Bistro 5, a creperie with a $5 upcharge. The crepes were delicious the first night, but on our second visit, again, very disorganized. I was eating my dessert crepe as others at our table were just being served their entree crepes. And a couple of entree orders had the incorrect ingredients. The restaurant never seemed to be very busy so I couldn't understand why the service was so slow. A shame because it's a very pretty little restaurant and the crepe concept was a lot of fun.
The fitness center is well equipped and was not crowded at the times I went. No time for any spa treatments this trip, so I can't comment on those.
Overall, it was a fabulous family cruise! We will certainly cruise on Celebrity again - it's our favorite line - but I hope our poor dining experiences were a fluke and not the norm for Summit.