A little background about us. We are a family of 5, with 3 younger kids (ages 7, 5 & 1). This is our 6th cruise on Celebrity and 3rd time on the Summit. Last time on the Summit or a cruise for that matter was 2 years ago, so before it got "solsticized". In fact 2 years ago our nickname for the ship was the "Slummit". Although after this cruise, that name has been retired!
There was definitely not an air conditioning problem on the cruise as other posters indicated early in the Bermuda season. In fact, our stateroom and most public areas were too cold.
ROOM - I will start with the room review. All 5 of us stayed in a RS. We previously have stayed in a RS, so I will be able to compare. Room was renovated, new furniture, carpeting, etc. Flat Screen TV's. We thought it was very nice. Bathroom was not renovated and like other posters have mentioned, could use some attention. There was nothing bad about it, but it was worn. It is 12 years old. Couple items that they took out of the room during the renovation and did not replace: DVD players & computer. I'm not complaining and didn't matter to us, but it does show you Celebrity did cut corners even in the RS. We did have new loungers with cushions on the veranda. Other than that, the cabinets, closet were all original and in fine working order. Our handle to the balcony fell off, we told the Butler and it was promptly fixed. The mattress seemed on the newer end..i slept fine, my wife did not. We had a rollaway bed + the pullout couch. And we brought a Pack N Play for the baby. All in all, the room was definitely a nice upgrade to our previous experiences on M class ships. Our Stateroom attendant Maxine always had a smile on her face and kept our room very clean!
Butler - We had Dominic..he was a superstar! We had breakfast every day in our room + the occasional lunch and dinner served. He made our cruise that much easier and more enjoyable with 3 kids in tow! I tipped him in the beginning, in the middle and the end. I know that is controversial, but that's what I did and it worked out very well for us.
Embarkation - Went very smooth. Our 3rd time at Bayonne, so I have the routine hammered out. Arrived at the port around 10:30am. No wait at check-in and on the ship quickly, not even time to sit down in the waiting area! One new perk they provided for RS and PS clients, they had the concierge host escort us to from check in to Michaels Club. They had a few snacks available at MC and we were able to stay there if we wanted until our Rooms were ready (which happened at about 1:15pm). But...we were all hungry so we decided to head over to the buffet.
Oceanview Cafe - Welcome Buffet...WOW...what a disappointment. (We are foodies by the way) Lots of stations closed, food quality was subpar. Pizza station looked closed..but then it was open. One person making and serving the pizza. I just need 2 slices of plain pizza. #4 in line..took over 15 mins. It seemed there were major cuts to the food on this buffet. On the positive side, I thought the buffet the rest of the cruise had more variety and better food quality than our previous 2 Summit Cruises. There were plenty of servers for drinks and people cleaning tables. Yes, at times the lines are long and yes, it is not organized very well.
New Room Service Menu for Breakfast - Our butler told us they rolled out a new menu last week. I am not sure who gets this menu but I would assume at least the suites do and probably CC. I would be glad to scan in if anyone is very interested in seeing exactly all the items. I think there a few new items: Smoothies are FREE. Interestingly, they have Pancakes and French Toast, but still no waffles..?? and...with the cruise lines trying to raise onboard spending, they now have a full page of PREMIUM BREAKFAST ITEMS for an additional cost. Steak n Eggs, $7. Black Truffle Omelette, $9. Crab Cake Benedict, $9. Fresh Egg Omelette (does that mean the free egg omelette is not fresh???) with smoked Salmon and Caviar, $9. Mimosa, Bloody Mary and some premium Teas. I did not try any of the premium items, so I cannot comment on them.
MDR - We ate there twice on the cruise, both were formal nights. We had a nice table for 7 by the window. Food was good, service was just OK, very slow. Very few tux's worn, most men wore a suit or jacket with tie. There were still a handful with no jacket or tie.
BLU - We ate there twice. Being in a suite we had access to the restaurant. We checked in with the Maitre'd and had no problem getting a table. They recommended a $5 tip p/p at end of dinner. My wife and I both loved BLU. We thought the atmosphere is a lot nicer than the MDR. The service was excellent and food quality was a step above and seemed healthier and more cooked to order. Definitely a huge positive in my opinion to either get an Aqua Class room or Suite to get access to Blu.
Normandie - Ate there on the first night (they offered 50% off). We also ate at Normandie two years ago on the Summit. Although the food quality was very good, we thought it was slightly below our experience a couple years ago. Service was excellent and food quality was very good. Is it worth $45 p/p? not in our opinion. Especially after eating in Blu for $5.
Qsine - Our first time eating in a Qsine. Food was excellent, best on the ship. Service, presentation all excellent. Atmosphere very nice and a lot less stuffy than Normandie. Although its not cheap, we thought it was worth the $45 p/p charge.
Captains Club - We are Elite, so we got the standard Elite coupons. Not one phone call from the host about any upcoming events on the ship, I thought that was odd as we always did in the past. I called the concierge host to ask for a bridge tour and they quickly provided us with an invitation at no additional cost.
Fun Factory - We sent our older 2 kids here. We have previous experience with the fun factory. This was probably the one big disappointment on the cruise. There were definite cuts made to the fun factory. Overall, just a mediocre experience, to the point where I might hesitate to recommend Celebrity to a family. They moved the Fun Factory during the renovation to a section of Revelations. It is brand new and looks very nice and extremely clean. BUT... it is a lot smaller and no outside area like in the previous location. In the past kids would come back to the room with t-shirts, stuffed animals, art work ,etc. On this cruise, they brought back practically no art work or projects. no t-shirts, no pillow cases, nothing. No make your own pizza day. It was mostly watching movies and playing Xbox. My 7 year old son came back to the room singing a song that he said he learned from a counselor that we thought was inappropriate to teach a 7 year old. Overall, we were disappointed with the Fun Factory versus our previously extremely positive experiences with them. Were the kids safe? Yes. Were the counselors friendly? yes. Was everything clean? Yes. But before this cruise we always raved about the Fun Factory...we can't do that now.
Public Areas and Bars - We thought the "solsticization" of the ship was executed very well. Stuffy old bars are now new and improved. Martini bar is a great addition. The new furniture was extremely nice looking and comfortable. Yes, there are some new additional staterooms but ship still does not feel over crowded at all. Plenty of quiet spaces to hang out at. The ship is a lot cleaner than before, with new carpeting throughout.
Entertainment - The one show we wanted to see was Jason Bishop and as you probably heard, he did not perform on our cruise. So we did not see any shows. The Butler did offer us VIP seats if we wanted to a show.
Pool Chairs -As previously mentioned by many posters, very difficult to get a lounger by the pool area. Some loungers were replaced during the renovation and some looked to be very worn. I THINK I saw some new loungers being loaded onto the ship when we returned to Bayonne.
Disembarkation - We asked for 9am and we received that time. Our # was called around 9am. There was a small wait for the shuttle bus and again at customs..but all in all, very easy.
Overall, another solid cruise from Celebrity. I was concerned about the quality of the food, especially with the subpar welcome buffet..but overall we thought the food quality was solid. The renovation of the ship was a nice surprise, as we thought the ship looked a lot better, cleaner and many nice areas were added to the ship. The RS was excellent, Blu and Qsine were a home run although we were disappointed with the Fun Factory.