Let me say first that without Cruise Critic we would have been totally lost on our first cruise. Many of the suggestions here were lifesavers on the cruise-I will address those later.
We would have never thought about taking a cruise to Bermuda-that ports out of New Jersey (1413 miles from where we live in Nebraska) but our son, Jordan Peterson, was recently hired in March to be a solo piano player/singer on the Summit. We have always been able to follow him wherever he is performing, so we had to keep up the tradition!
We arrived at the port at approximately 1:00 and since we were Concierge Class we bypassed the LONG line and were on the ship in no time. We knew that Jordan was scheduled to play at the Cafe' al Bacio at 2:00, so we really wanted to get there before he started. We finally boarded the elevator to the 5th floor to find Jordan's smiling face looking back at us from his chair at the Cafe'. What a moment to witness he and his mother hug! It seemed longer than four months since we have seen him.
We spent the first hour on the ship at the Cafe' listening to Jordan in disbelief on how much he has improved in both his singing and playing. A funny story that happened at the Cafe' was when I first presented my SeaPass card, Valentin, the barista said, "You have the same name as Jordan!" I said, "he is my son!" Valentin then proceeded to tell all of the servers who I was and they all came up and shook my hand.
We made our way up to our room after Jordan's set and were pleasantly surprised at the size of the room. We were sharing the room with my mother and were a little concerned at how much space we would have. We had cabin 8082 with a veranda; which I feel is a must for the cruise.
I will agree with most of those on the board that the crew were very friendly and courteous. They went out of their way to smile and make you feel welcome. The only crew we did not find as courteous were the bartenders at the Ocean View. They did not seem as "happy" as everybody else on the ship.
The food was not as "amazing" as I thought it would be. The buffet at the Oceanview Cafe was really good, especially breakfast. The service is great and the views even better. Room service was very handy after late nights watching Jordan. It was so easy just to use the interactive TV and order whatever we wanted! The room service pizza was AWESOME! We ate at Normandie one night and the CrÃªpes Ballon Rouge was the highlight of my meals on the cruise. We ate at the Cosmopolitan the last night of the cruise and were not impressed. Service was not great and the food was mediocre. This is just our experience, I know that others have loved the food there. I was very impressed with the "Bistro on Five". It does cost, but the meals are $5.00 and include three courses. The crepes are amazing. Sometimes it really was nice to beat the hustle and bustle of the other restaurants and have a nice, quiet meal there. The Pool Side Grill was also a favorite spot for us. It is very handy to grab a delicious burger and hot dog whenever we wanted, and they were VERY tasty!
I have to single out the Cafe' al Bacio staff. They were so nice to us. I am not sure if it was because we were Jordan's parents and he plays so often there, or if they are just always that nice. Nevertheless, Daria, Magdalena and Valentin all treated us like family and our service there was the best on the ship.
The entertainment on the ship was of course, AWESOME (we are biased). Here is a video of the opening performance by all of the Summit musicians: The magician, Jason Bishop, was VERY good. Not only a great illusionist, but a great comedian-very witty. Michele Balan, the Comedian, was also very funny and we really enjoyed her. She was very funny as a judge in both the "Liar's Club" and "Dancing With The Stripes." She is very quick-witted and hilarious. We also had a fun time listening to the guitarist, Brandi Paige. She is very versatile and has a great voice. We even talked her into playing a duet at the end of her set at Michael's Club with Jordan.
We were so excited to learn that the 54 Below entertainer on the ship would be Liz Callaway and Jordan was asked to play with her as her usual pianist was not able to attend. We even got to watch them rehearse and were treated to our own little show. We met her after the show and she was like everybody said, so down to earth and approachable. The Crewners are the a cappella group and have a tremendous following on the ship. They are very tight with their vocal harmonies and put on a good show.
As far as Bermuda goes, IT WAS AWESOME. I wish I was still there. I was totally surprised and taken back by how polite and courteous all of the residents were there. I rode the famous "pink buses" several times and was amazed by how each passenger who got on the bus greeted the driver with "hello sir" and "thank you sir" when they left. Totally blown away by this. I found everyone I encountered in Bermuda as polite and glad that we were visiting their country. I want to go back....NOW. We did not do a lot of excursions, but we visited Hamilton, Horseshoe Beach and Scaur Park-an old fort that is a photographers dream and gives you some great views of the entire island. The Naval Dockyard shopping was very pleasant and easy to get around in. The "Frog and Onion Pub" had some great micro brews and good food. On our last day in Bermuda we visited Snorkle Park Beach and it was a blast. We rented peddle boats and that was so fun. It was a nice end to our time in Bermuda.
I was very impressed with how visible the Captain and the Cruise Director, Alexander, were. The Captain actually sat down in the Cafe' al Bacio and had a coffee and listened to Jordan. Alexander was wonderful and he and Jordan have a great relationship and plan on doing some very cool things together in the future. The crew goes out of their way to make sure you are comfortable on the ship and feel welcome.
Here are some of the tips and hints that we actually used from the boards here on Cruise Critic:
1. If you have a CPAP machine, bring an extension cord as the outlets are across the room from the bed.
2. Bring travel outlet adapters-preferable two of them. There are two outlets by the vanity that will give you more outlets.
3. Downey Wrinkle Release is AMAZING. We were skeptical, but it REALLY WORKS to get wrinkles out of packed clothing.
4. Those that suggested bringing walkie talkies-YOU WERE TOTALLY RIGHT!!
It is very hard to communicate with others on the ship because of limited cell phone usage and walkie-talkies would have been very handy. I had them out to pack, but did not bring them-wish we would have.
5. Baggies to take to the beach are very useful for keeping electronic items dry.
6. We brought an over the door shoe holder to put in the bathroom, but did not use it. There was plenty of room in the bathroom for storing everything.
7. Those that suggested to pack your suitcase-and then take 1/2 out-were totally right. I would probably be able to do my next cruise with just a carry on.
8. The train shuttle in Bermuda is very helpful to take you around the shopping area for those who have a hard time walking.
9. I would recommend taking the taxi from Horseshoe Beach to the ship. It is $30.00 and takes you from the beach to the door of the ship.
Overall we were VERY happy with the cruise. When my wife asked me what my favorite part of the cruise was, I replied, "I love to watch people watching Jordan." He is doing what he is meant to do and gets to touch people with his music each and every week. We are trying to figure out how we are going to go on his next cruise aboard the Celebrity Century sailing to Hawaii, Mexico, Central American and the Panama Canal!!