Travelled from Baltimore on the Academy Tours bus ($130 RT with two suitcases). Was picked up at the Baltimore Travel Plaza at 10:00 a.m. with four others; picked up fourteen passengers in Wilmingon; was at the pier in Cape Liberty, NJ, at 2:00 p.m. This is a very good alternative to driving from DC, Baltimore, Wilmington or Philadelphia (no tolls, no headaches).
Unlike my embarkation in December 2011 at 2:00 p.m., the security clearance and check in was very quick. Muster drill was conducted and the Cruise Critic folks met on deck 10, aft bar immediately afterwards. We enjoyed meeting each other (beads helped) and took in the views as we sailed past Lady Liberty and underneath the Veranzano Bridge.
Luggage arrived in a suitable amount of time and it was off to the first theater show. I must say that this was the best overall entertainment of all the cruises that I've taken. The production singers/dancers worked well together (it was their last cruise as a team), the comedian/sound effects guy and former 50's Letterman singer were both great. While not my style of singing, the Crewners, an a'capella group, were the best of this type of entertainment that I've seen on board.
Be aware that, while the Summit has be 'Solticized', the enhancements have been made in the revenue-generating areas. It would have been appreciated if deck and pool chairs, deck planking, railings would have been upgraded. Not shabby, but worn. That said, I still prefer the older M-class ships (Constellation and Summit) over the newer S-class ships (Silhouette). More easy to navigate and better use of space without unnecessary frills and minimally-used areas.
I met a wonderful group of people on this cruise, from the Cruise Critic folks, to table mates to our group of Elite happy-hour sippers. Thanks for your comradery!!!!
The crew and officers were excellent. The gentleman manning the pasta bar each day deserves a medal and a huge raise. I often saw him work from lunch until dinner with no relief.
The food in the MDR has been reduced in quality/selection. By no means is it bad, just not as good as prior to the for-fee venues coming on board. Our table was not happy with the demise of escargot (available with lobster bits in Q'suine, a for-fee restaurant). Did I go hungry, no; however, ecargot is one of the little pleasures of being on a 'modern luxury' cruise.
My cabin was on deck three, portside, to the rear of guest relations. Bedding was comfortable; linens good. I liked the cabin but, as previously posted, the corridor was smokey. This was either from nearby crew areas or from deck four where smoking is permitted. My allergies did kick up as a result. I did alert guest relations to this issue.
A small annoyance was that the temperature/humidity forecast never changed on the in-cabin TV channel. This is soooo easy to update but it wasn't. Helps to decide how to dress when not in a balcony cabin.
Bermuda, as always, enchants. We had smooth seas and moderate weather - a combination of overcast and sunny with temperatures in the high seventies. Being at the Dockyards is not as convenient as being in St. Georges or Hamilton but it was doable even with the NCL Breakaway in port with us. Utilized the ferries to both cities; purchased a two day pass.
Took three ship excursions: Harbour nights transportation (leisurely transfers to and from Hamilton without having to worry about overloaded public ferries; full island small bus tour (friends had not been to Bermuda in 20 years) and the Horseshoe Bay beach transport. Harbour Nights was a nice street fair. The gumbay dancers danced through the crowd a bit too quickly and the military brigades did not march like on a previous visit (only happens once a month now). I've done Harbour Nights twice now and that will probably be it for a while.
The island tour was a good introduction or refresher. Did not stop at any of the lighthouses and did not go past Fort St. Catherine. The Horseshoe Bay transfer was convenient but you are only at the beach for about two hours (enough for me). This beach can get crowded but we had a nice number of people for our visit. Two umbrellas and three chairs cost $80 but $25 was refunded.
Disembarkation was reasonable. Our entire bus group received 9:15 a.m. departure times; we ran a bit late but were on the bus by 10:00 a.m. which was the scheduled time to leave.
It had been six years since my last Bermuda cruise. Enjoyed this one so much that I booked the same Memorial date for 2014.