My Bermuda cruise on the Celebrity Summit began May 4th after an early morning flight from Cleveland to Newark, New Jersey. I was met by a Celebrity greeter at the airport and directed to a waiting area for transportation to the cruise terminal.
Prior to the start of embarkation, the terminal staff was supposed to distribute “Shuttle Numbers” for bus transportation from the terminal to the ship. Some passengers, including myself, got overlooked but this was quickly remedied while waiting in line to check in. This process moved along quickly and several buses began moving passengers to the ship, relieving the congestion in the waiting area.
Around 12:30 passengers began drifting from the Oceanview Buffet to the cabins--no announcement was made regarding this. My accommodation, a veranda stateroom on Deck 7, had been made up with twin beds instead of the usual double! It wasn’t a problem and I had no trouble sleeping in a twin bed. The stateroom was very clean, smelled fresh and nicely appointed with flat-screen TV, mini-bar, small sofa and table. There were a few small signs of wear and tear in the bathroom but nothing of concern. I noted there was no electrical outlet in the bathroom and had to use one near the veranda door for my electric razor.
The Summit is somewhat of an older ship but well-maintained. Some maintenance was being done during the cruise: repairing a few drains on the jogging deck, painting and applying new finish to some of the wooden rails. One has to remember that ships are at sea 24/7 and maintenance is scheduled by the ship’s staff--when the ship is sailing or in port. . Fortunately there appeared to be no outbreaks of norovirus throughout this cruise!
There are several public areas throughout the ship: the library being my favorite place. It was quiet and there were daily news journals to keep passengers up to date. No trouble finding a quiet place to sit!
I enjoyed room service breakfasts every day which arrived promptly as requested though there appeared to be some miscommunication in the room service galley. As a solo traveler, my tray frequently arrived with two sets of cutlery, once with two glasses of orange juice and the first day without butter for the croissants. I simply wrote “butter and jam” on the menu card each night and it was placed on the tray every day thereafter. The Cosmopolitan Dining Room served excellent meals each night with balanced servings in proportion to the plate size. Special thanks to Bojan and Dollaphon who served table #328 efficiently and with smiles! The Oceanview Buffet has many “service stations” offering a variety of foods. Occasionally there were issues in trying to reach some items through the glass shields but a server was never far away and offered assistance. Desserts tended to be the weak link at times--Jello-type desserts were frequent but a variety of cakes were presented one day and pies on another occasion, making up for the earlier offerings. There was ample seating in the buffet area--unlike the difficulty in finding a seat the previous year on the Equinox. Some food is available later in the evening but the ice cream station tended to have erratic closing times.
The Ship’s Master provided a daily humorous commentary on the ship’s position and weather conditions. I didn’t see him often around the ship but the junior officers were frequently seen greeting passengers. Room stewards, pool butlers, drink waiters, guest relations et al were also friendly and personable.
The Summit docked at King’s Wharf, Bermuda and the passengers enjoyed three full days exploring the island. Some rented scooters but most others made use of Bermuda’s transportation system which is efficient and reasonably priced. Multi-day passes are available which allow the purchaser to make use of the bus and ferry system. I chose one shore excursion--the Fantasea Glass-Bottomed Boat Tour which was informative and fun with a Rum Swizzle thrown in. I visited the Bermuda Aquarium and Zoo but did this trip on my own (and it was much cheaper!).
The production shows on board the Summit were excellent with fine singers and dancers. The shows sometimes featured the ship’s band--top drawer musicians! Many shows included an “audio enhancement track” which provide additional sounds, supplementing the band and dancers. There was also a Broadway singer as well as two comedians. The Cirque du Soleil-style performers were amazing and merited the standing ovations they received!
Admittedly there are revenue-generating gimmicks aboard the ship. There is the casino which I didn’t try. The kitchen tour ends with representatives from Qsine and the Normandie restaurants, promoting their dining experiences ( extra charge, of course), the ship’s photographers selling photo packages, drinks packages, the usual Emporium stuff, Internet charges and the notorious “art auctions.” (Don’t bother with these except for the free champagne.) If there’s a way to make money, Celebrity has already thought of it!
But a person doesn’t have to spend extra money to have a great time and Celebrity provides a nicely- packaged vacation at a reasonable price. Disembarkation was very easy though there was no room service available that morning. This was my second Celebrity cruise, having traveled with Holland America previously. I selected Celebrity for the destination and the price. I would definitely travel with Celebrity again and will be looking at new destinations in the coming year.