We just got back yesterday from a great week on the Summit.
We are an all-adult family of 5 sailing with my Grandmother, making us 6 people between the ages of 20 and 79. We booked 3 "sweet sixteen" 2C balcony cabins for $749 through an online travel agency and they gave us $175 OBC plus an additional $80 when we elected travel insurance.
We got into San Juan on Friday morning after flying all night from San Francisco and checked into the Condado Lagoon Villas at the Caribe Hilton. We booked these rooms on Priceline using "Name Your Own Price" for $125. We think the high minimum price was due to the combination of spring break and the Ironman being that weekend. A quick nap in the room and then over to the beach bar for a lunch of salad and grilled mahi mahi. Expensive, but good. We spent the rest of the day on the lagoon beach. This is a protected area with no waves. Great for families with small children. Many people were snorkeling. While the rooms were basic, they were clean and convenient for a 1-night stay. The property was nice. The only "down side" was that the Villas are far away from the main hotel lobby and the beach and pool area. Dinner was at a forgettable restaurant in Old Town San Juan. We are limited when we eat due to my Grandmother being very picky. We tried to go to Ceviche 358, but she couldn't find anything there to order.
Saturday morning we woke up. I'm training for a 5K, so I went for a run around the property while the rest of the family had coffee and a small breakfast at Starbucks in the hotel lobby. We showered and packed up and left the hotel at noon for the ship. It was about 20 minutes from the time the cab driver unloaded our luggage to when we were on the ship. Ten minutes was spent waiting in line to drop our luggage with the porters. The other 10 was walking from the luggage drop off, to check in, checking in, and walking on to the ship. After we dropped the luggage there was not one line or any waiting. Really excellent embarkation.
We got lunch at the buffet. Everything was excellent and there was little waiting. I had a turkey burger at the pool grill and brought it inside the buffet to eat with my family. The luggage was at our rooms by dinner and we ate in the MDR. We ate in the MDR every night except for formal nights because we didn't pack formal clothes. Instead we ate at QZine the first formal night and had the MDR dinner served on our balcony the 2nd formal night.
Qzine is not to be missed. It is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. If you can get Lubjo as your waiter, he will make some suggestions on what to order. With 5 people (Gram didn't go with us) we ordered 8 entrees and it was a ton of food. I would say my favorites were the lamb chops on the Mediterranean Sample (called "M sometime") and the Lava Crab. And the Lobster Fritters and the Filet Minon. And do not miss the Qzine Surprise dessert! Hahaha that is how good everything was!
For 2nd formal night, we wanted to try to lobster, lamb chops, and beef wellington, so we moved all 6 patio chairs and 3 small tables to one of the extended "sweet sixteen" balconies and our 2 room stewards brought all the food down. It was great! We tipped generously!
The entire ship seemed to be in great shape. Very clean. I read some complaints before leaving about the condition of the stateroom bathrooms, but I thought they were fine. Did the grout look new? No, but it was certainly clean all the same. We would travel on this ship again for sure.
The service was excellent. We had a couple of slower nights in the MDR, but we didn't really have anywhere to be. We didn't go to the production shows, but Dancing with the Stripes was fun to watch. They pair guests up with crew members and do a "Dancing with the Stars" type humor competition, complete with a funny panel of judges.
St Croix: My brother and I certified scuba divers, but we booked Discover Scuba for my father and sister and all did 3 dives together with St. Croix SCUBA. Mike was a great instructor and Erica was the dive master for us certified divers. We were the only ones on the boat and all had a blast. Would certainly book with them again. An added plus is they pick you up direct from the cruise ship pier. I am always lugging my gear with me so the shorter the distance to the boat, the better! The only downside was no camera bucket on the boat.
St. Kitts: We booked with Miles from Nevis Yacht Charters and had a great day on a private sailing trip. We snorkeled in this great little cove with a ship wreck and Alvin, the first mate, jumped into the water and showed us some fish and a whole lobster family! While we are all experienced snorkelers, this would also be a great trip for beginner snorkelers as the conditions were really good. If you have a family or a small group and want to get away from the crowds for a day, this is the excursion for you!
Dominica: My brother and I dove with Nature Island Divers and it was a great day. It was maybe a 15-20 minute dive from the cruise ship to the dive shop and then we did 2 amazing dives. Of all the ports, this was the one for diving! In between dives we were back on land and walked down the small main street of Soufrier and had a homemade fried dough snack and a couple of sodas. Again, the downside was that there was no camera bucket on the boat.
The rest of my family did the Roseau Valley Treasures tour with Bumpiing Tour. They had a great time, but it was definitely pushing the limits for my Mom. She is in good shape but wasn't expecting having to climb a rock wall and jump into the water from a cliff at Titou Gorge. Only AFTER she did it was it explained that it was optional, so just know that if you go.
Grenada: With so many ports, we picked this one as a relaxing day. We got off the ship and shopped around in the small town, then go back on and spent the day reading at the pool .
Sea Day: We did the buffet brunch, which was not to be missed. It was excellent. Fresh egg omelets, made to order waffles, plus everything you'd expect for brunch as well as sushi, steaks, and a ridiculous dessert selection including milk and white chocolate fountains. We were told the only juice available was fresh squeezed and cost $2.50, which was a bummer.
St. Thomas: The whole family went to Coki beach for the day. My brother and I did 2 great dives with Peter and Michelle from Coki Beach Dive Shop and everyone else enjoyed the great beach. With only one ship in port, it wasn't crowded, and they were able to rent chairs and snorkeling equipment and have lunch and drinks served by a lovely waitress. The only downside to this day was that they really pack in the people for the taxis and we were the 3rd and last stop. A little frustrating when you woke up early to start your day in port and you feel like you are on a public bus making stops for other people.
Debarkation: My sister and I had a 2:50 flight home so we opted for the ship organized walking tour of San Juan because they take care of your luggage. It was about 2.5 hours of walking in the sun, so this is not for those that can't handle it. We did the El Morro Fort first, which was wonderful, but there are about 5 flights of stairs and ramps and I think they are even a little bit longer then a normal flight.
We got to the airport and there was no line for United. Some of the other airlines did have significant lines, though. The food options through security left something to be desired, but we made due with chicken fingers and sodas before the flight home.
All in all, this was a great trip, one I would recommend to anyone that is ready for a busy 7-day cruise!