Background information: I have been vacationing to islands for over 15 years but have never tried a cruise until now. I am more of a walk out of your hotel and lay on the beach kind of vacationer but I had a group of friends going on this trip so I thought I would give it a try. Being that I have never cruised before doing a one island cruise was definitely appealing to me and others in my party that had never cruised before either.
Embarkation: Everything was very easy and went very fast. The staff at Bayonne was fantastic and helpful. Welcome glass of champagne when getting on the ship was a perfect greeting. Once on the ship we went to make reservations for our first 2 dinners. Easy process and staff was helpful, had a drink at the bar on the 3rd floor and then went to lunch at Bistro on 5. Before you knew it we were told that the rooms were ready.
Ship information: For a first time cruiser I really liked the Summit. It was big but not too overwhelming. Very easy to get around, elevators were rarely backed up, good amount of people (not too many, not too little), and very clean.
Activities: As far as daytime activities, like I said, I am a lay on the beach vacationer so I just want to relax. I know there were things going on during the day like bingo, volleyball, shows, movies, trivia but I honestly couldn't say anything about them since all I did was lay by the pool. That part was perfect and very relaxing. No trouble getting seats and no one bothered you
Service: Service was incredible. These people work really hard. Long days, long trips and they are ALWAYS on. Nothing is ever going to be perfect but honestly, for the most part I was extremely impressed. Having traveled a significant amount I can say with certainty that the service here was top notch. Staff was always friendly and you felt recognized and remembered by most of them including the Captain.
Port & shore excursions: did not do any excursions this time but seemed like a lot of information was provided on the TV or in the newsletters you received. We had planned to do 3 different beaches while we were there. Very easy to get to. Between the bus, ferry or cabs it was extremely easy to get around. Since the last day had an expiration time we went to 9 beaches which was only about a 10 minute cab ride. Larry; the owner of SurfSup was really great! Very accommodating. Food was great, great for snorkeling and paddle boarding too and very tucked away. Small beach area but you could walk miles out into the water.
Cabin: First cruise so I can't compare it to anything but I was surprised at how big the room was. Stayed in a Deluxe Oceanview with Veranda. Three adult women and we had no issues with getting ready, storage or space. Beds were clean and comfortable. Our service attendant; Max was very attentive and on top of it. Never had an issue with room cleanup or turn down service and he was truly there for whatever we needed. Always working and there to say good morning or hello or have a good night.
Dining: Food was outstanding! And the new portioning that they are trying on this ship was genius (thank you Martin)!! For those of us who are health conscience it was nice to have portioned meals with nutrition facts. And portioning meals makes you more conscience of what you are taking so it saves time and likely money for the ship (quick and easy to grab as opposed to moving slowly through a buffet to grab a hot spoon and see what you options are before realizing that your plate is overflowing with food - that you are probably not going to finish). I was incredibly impressed with the choices of food in the buffet as well. Lots of great selections and nothing I had was bad. Grill outside was also a great option for a late day snack and had made to order turkey and veggie burgers for the healthy. Normandy was an experience. We had booked for the second night of the cruise to celebrate a birthday and anniversary and sat in the wine room. WOW. Incredible fine dining experience with impeccable service. Our entire party tipped extra because it was so fantastic. Our next dinner the following night was at Qsine. WOW! I seriously wish they had one of these locally. Such a cool, chic, sophisticated experience. And again I can't say enough about the staff. Our friends had been before over a year before that and their waiter remembered them by name! Our waiter this time was incredible; Attila. He was fun, funny, really understood our groups humor and vibe and made the experience so much better because of it. The tapas style food was so clever and detailed and all of his recommendations we perfect for what we wanted. Again, we tipped extra because of the experience.
Entertainment: I went to one show and a few of the dance parties otherwise, spent most of my time in the casino. Shows are not really my thing but they were okay. I heard that some of the comedy shows were good but I never went to see them. Because we did a lot of the specialty dining with a large party and later at night a lot of the times we missed the shows. For my group we preferred spending time together and having nice meals instead and I wouldn't change a thing. Crowd was a little older on this cruise so unfortunately some of the club events that they had were not as fun as I thought they would be. Casino was small but never had any issues getting on a table or at a machine. The staff in the casino was great but it was difficult to get a drink unless you went to the bar to get it. The dealers had to keep asking someone to come around.
Disembarkation: Very smooth, bags needed to be outside of room by 11 the night before. Everything was picked up on time and there were no issues or questions about the process. Everything went very smooth.
Summary: I was looking for a first time cruise to Bermuda where I could relax, have fun and spend time with friends and that is exactly what I got. Other than a few little issues here and there (mostly with IT related issues) everything was very good. I was impressed with the size of the gym and there were a good amount of classes as well. Classes fill quickly though so I recommend that if you want to take classes during the week you go and book early. However, the gym is pretty packed in the morning so you have to either plan on going very early or work it into your day. I found that between 5 and 6 PM was the best time for me. Pools were a little small (there were 3 pools though) compared to what I am used to on a resort but not terribly packed so if you wanted to go cool off you could. The service at the bars were a little slow at times but I find that happens on resorts as well. Something about having a relaxed mentality (yeah right haha). Mehmet was by far the best bartender on the ship. He bounced around to a lot of different bars but wherever he was you knew you getting great service. Nightlife was a light but this does seem to be an older more sophisticated crowd. I was with 7 people though so we always managed to find something and have a lot of fun. Specialty restaurants were worth the extra money in my opinion. And with a great price for the cruise + drink package I didn't mind spending the extra money on a few nice dinners. We actually ended up going to Normandy twice and Qsine twice because of the amazing food and experience. Our waiter at Qsine (Attila) who was extremely busy even offered to take our table because of the relationship we had built with him on our original visit. Regardless of how busy he was we didn't have any delays or issues with his service. He was absolutely incredible both times we dined with him. Coffee bar was also amazing and the big yellow chairs were so comfortable. The entire staff there was fantastic. Always knew your drink and the delivery was fast and perfect every time. Martini bar was a good place to start off your night but service was a little slow. Drinks were good though. And as a matter of fact the drinks everywhere were good and strong. Vlad in guest services was another great staff member. Even though there were a few issues he always got everything taken care of without question. In summary it was just an overall good experience! I didn't really know anything about Celebrity before booking this cruise but I am now a sold member. Already booked for next year!