We're a 27/28 year old married couple and this was our second Celebrity cruise, first on an M-Class boat. Expectations are everything, especially transitioning from an S-Class to an M-Class boat. I armed myself with knowledge and was therefore not disappointed, but could appreciate the Summit's more subtle brand of sophistication as opposed to the Reflection's modern glamour. We were in a 2C Sweet Sixteen Balcony room. The sail over to Bermuda was very rough. We experienced high waves and I relied on my medication to keep me moving and eating. Overall though, we had such a fantastic time that we took advantage of Celebrity's "All In" promotion which gives you free gratuities, beverage package, and on-board credit when you book a future sailing to Bermuda. That was a no-brainier after the great cruise we experienced, so we'll be Bermuda-bound again next June :-)
We had a rough start due to a coast guard inspection. We had stayed at the Hampton Inn on Staten Island which provides free transportation to the port. We arrived at 10:20 and were checked in and waiting in the holding area by 10:45. The room became very crowded and noisy and the person giving instructions was attempting to get our attention on a bullhorn. You couldn't hear him and it was a disaster waiting to happen. We finally got on the boat around 12:30. The champagne waiting for us was a relief!
While smaller than our OV on the Reflection, the double size balcony made up for it in spades. We had room 6028. Ample storage space and the bed was comfortable. We were missing a deck chair but it was resolved within a few hours of notifying our attendant. The bathroom was adequate but was showing its age with a bit of mold in the shower and dingy grout. That's the reason I don't give it an A+.
We found the staff and officers of the Summit absolutely fantastic. Ken Mills the cruise director and Luigi de la Cruz, Activities Director, were hilarious, visible, and personable. Their daily recorded show is a must see. Captain Demetrius was the most charismatic and charming captain I've ever had. You can tell he is proud of his job and enjoys it. Our stateroom attendant, Suneil and Assistant, Lancy, went above and beyond. I just had to ask once and my ice was filled twice daily. The room was very clean and the bathroom very fresh as well. A/C worked wonderfully. One of the most delightful people was the sommelier, Olja. She took very good care of us.
Beverage Package: B+
We took advantage of the beverage package promo and I upgraded only mine to the premium. The bartenders were great and very willing to be creative with mixing new drinks. I wish there had been menus at each bar though. Cafe al Bacio was one of my favorite spots and the smoothies at the Aqua Spa Cafe were delicious. I was disappointed that the beers available at Michael's club were now nowhere to be found after closing that venue off to suite and elites. Additionally, we experienced issues at the martini bar with one bartender serving my husband (classic package) mini martinis no problem and then the next minute another bartender saying he wasn't allowed to get them on his package. Last, brands specified as part of the packages by the Celebrity official on this board very recently were not available on the boat. I asked several places for a specific type of rum and nobody knew what I was talking about. None of these things really impacted our voyage though. We were happy overall just having the package included in our fare and not having to think about it.
Specialty Dining: B+
We ate at Bistro on 5 embarkation day to avoid the buffet and it was excellent for the $7 upcharge. Worth it. I only give a B+ because of the slow service. I bet it was because it was the first day though and things would have been more efficient going later on in the journey.
Select Dining: B
There are some kinks that need to be worked out here. The first night we waited almost an hour to be seated. It got better throughout the week. If you like eating between 7:00-8:00, my recommendation is to make reservations ahead of time online, especially for sea days. Our wait staff got an A+. Everyone we had was fantastic.
MDR Food: A+
All the food we had was good to excellent. Top favorites were the lamb in phyllo, chilled pear and honey soup, blue cheese souffle, chocolate lava cake, New York strip, and Jerked chicken.
Room Service: A
Excellent and timely service (if not early) and mostly great food. Don't get the scrambled eggs, they're inedible! The bacon was deliciously crunchy and the coffee was hot and fresh. Croissants are flaky and delicious!
Buffet/Pool Grill: B
The main issue with the buffet is the terrible layout, but X can't do much about that. What they can fix though is how the layout is managed. The items that are out into the early hours of the morning need to be moved to the front of the buffet. Many times stations were't all open and instead of closing down one complete side and containing the items to one area, there would be open stations scattered all over the buffet. This was inconvenient and annoying. The baskets are OK overall as they make selection much faster; however, they are wire and paper and thus cool the food more quickly. X needs to figure out how to keep the food from cooling too quickly. They are also bulky and awkward on one's tray. They should be smaller. The metal tins of Indian food, tofu Asian salad, pizza, ice cream, and waffles were best. Pool grill was excellent - A+.
We enjoyed Jordan Peterson, piano/vocals most of all. Stephen Aubrey on guitar and the 5 o'clock somewhere duo are not to be missed either. We loved the DJ/live drumming combo happening around the martini bar in the evenings. That was a hot group. The 54 below was OK. Sin City Comedy was great and the Liars Club starring the Captain was hilarious. Don't miss it, but don't bring kids either. It was a bit raunchy.
Transportation was a breeze, locals were generous and friendly, and we felt safe 100% of the time. We had excellent weather, highs in the low 80s with very low humidity and a delicious sea breeze at all times. We enjoyed horseshoe beach, harbor nights, par-la-ville park, Church bay, and a snorkeling excursion by Jesse James Cruises that I arranged independently. I did have an accident snorkeling when I gashed my ankle on a rock, which brings me to. . .
Ship Medical Facilities: A+
I didn't get farther than Nurse Mel at the front desk. Concerned about cost, I asked him how much it would be to get a Dr.to look at my ankle. He very kindly invited me back and said he'd be happy to look at it, no charge. He cleaned the wound and told me how to bandage it and what signs of infection to keep a lookout for. That was it. Thanks, Nurse Mel!
What a sad day that was, especially staring at ugly Bayonne. Debarkation was fast but could go faster if able-bodied people were directed to a staircase rather than only the elevators. Transportation from the port is very expensive, so be wary.
I do have a very detailed photo review that can be found at this link: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2057415