Our party consisted of a married 40-something couple, two teenage daughters, and my very young 70-ish mother who was on her first cruise.
PORT: Oh, my. This was almost scary. The entire dock area was a boarded up ghost town with horrible roads leading in and out. The "terminal" looks like an abandoned hangar. The free shuttle to the terminal was a beat up van with chunks taken out of the seats, running boards that were bent and couldn't be used, and doors that were hard to open/close. Seemed very unorganized inside. Then you had to take another shuttle to ship (nice one this time). Both shuttles were only a few minutes. Actually apologized to my mother at this point. Never experienced anything like this before. Was not a great first impression.
CABINS: We had two ocean view rooms. For two adults, the room size was very generous compared to NCL and we had plenty of room. Add two teenage girls in the mix and I'm not sure there is a cabin on any ship that will accommodate them :). Decor was understated and nice. Lots of storage space.
The refrigerators in the room don't really get cold but do put a slight chill on drinks if you bring your own. We asked our steward to remove all the mini bar items and they did so promptly; our girls steward also removed their items but just stacked them along side the fridge??
Shampoo and conditioner were nicer than what you get at most hotels and had no problem using them.
The cabins are where the ship really shows its age, though. Little things like carpet buckling and silvering on the back of mirrors worn off definitely will not make or break my cruise. Didn't like the mildew/mold on shower curtain and walls. The grandmother/kids room had mold on the toilet seat. Unfortunately, I didn't use their bathroom until the end of the cruise and didn't know about it earlier. Yuck!
The cabin stewards for the "adult" room were great and made towel animals for us every day, replaced ice daily, fresh towels twice a day, and clean. The girls/mom room didn't get any towel animals (they were not happy about that!) They also complained about towels not being replaced and such. Not sure what happened there. They were on the other side of the ship and didn't have the same stewards.
FOOD: Where to start. Food in the MDR was wonderful! Loved it. Every meal I had there was delicious. I have very picky girls and mother who ordered the chicken every night. Wasn't until the end of the cruise that they realized there was a separate kids menu they could have ordered from. Our waiter was fantastic. He encouraged them to try new things and if they didn't like it he would bring something else. MDR was so enjoyable we didn't even think about trying any of the specialty restaurants. Another couple we talked to said the lamb chops in MDR were better than what was served in Normandie.
The bad of MDR: Select dining. It just doesn't work. You cannot "select" when you want to eat. If you don't want to eat at 9:00 p.m. you must have a reservation or you end up waiting. The first night we waited about 30 minutes. The second night we waited over an hour and had to go back to complain before we were taken to our table. After that we made reservations. If I knew when I wanted to eat every day I would have taken first or second seating dining. Cruised on NCL with "Freestyle" dining and loved it. Never waited - ever!
The Ocean View Cafe: Food was good if you only wanted something from one station and you could get to eat it before it was cold. SLOW lines!!!! Breakfast was the worst! Pizza is fabulous. Burgers on pool deck are to die for. Great fries. Nice pasta station. You really do have to make a complete loop all the way around the room before you decide what you want to eat. There are some stations that people didn't find and would ask "where did you find that?"
We had the classic beverage package with alcohol. Thought about upgrading but glad we didn't. Everything we drank was within that package. Bar service was good. Lots of wait staff coming to your tables/pool chairs/theater seats to serve you.
ENTERTAINMENT: Really enjoyed the comedian. Very funny. Kids were not happy that it was adult only one night. The illusionist was amazing! Not to be missed!! The Stars of the Summit were enjoyable and fun - nothing really to write home about but was nice evening entertainment for the family. Certainly not near the same level as the Disney productions, but of course, little is. :) Didn't get to too many of the vocalists except passing through or eating outside. What I heard was good. Not something our girls wanted to listen to, though. The 54 Below just wasn't our thing. We all really enjoyed the game shows. Very funny.
Seminars - had something for everyone. My mother enjoyed the acupuncture seminar. The entire family did the galley tour. I recommend it.
Pools - Heated therapy pool was wonderful! The outdoor pool was freezing!!! Very small. This is where my kids say they would rather not cruise this particular ship again. This is also where it is very obvious that the Summit is not the "Fun Ship". They missed the water slides, rock walls, fun music, festive atmosphere. Everything is navy blue/white. No color - anywhere. Blah!
We didn't use the spa services - too expensive for us. I did try to use the gym one sea day and found it really hard to stay on the treadmill with the ship rocking! :) Between the ship rocking and getting hot and sweaty in the gym, I just felt sick. So I just ate the rest of the cruise and felt much better! :)
DISEMBARKATION: So smooth I was shocked! Lines moved fast. Easy to find luggage. Husband had to go get car while we waited at terminal/hangar with luggage and then we were off to visit Carlos Bakery in Hoboken, at the request of the kids.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: Enjoyed the cruise. Love Bermuda. Food and guest performers was probably the highlight. Enjoyed the evening shows. All staff were very friendly, officers and the service staff alike. Saw the captain a lot.
Didn't love the lack of color on deck. Actually makes you kind of sad to look at - doesn't bring on that happy feeling. Really noticeable when you dock in Bermuda and see it next to the brand new NCL Breakaway. Makes you really wish you were on the other ship.
Although there is a kids club, kids we met on board didn't want to go. The teen club was so small it was claustrophobic and my kids didn't have any interest. This is definitely not where they are putting their money. Which doesn't make sense to me because those are the future cruise purchasers.
Great cruise for those who want to sit and relax, go to seminars, and be entertained by singers - lots of sitting and relaxing to be done on this ship. It is not for a younger family who is used to moving all the time and likes it that way. For our family, we will pick another ship next time. But of course, that's just one family's opinion.
Let me know if you have any questions. I'll try to answer as best I can.