Needing to get away for a bit, we arranged to meet friends for this cruise.
Celebrity was running a nice deal which included the cruise, 2 nights hotel in Manhattan Times Square, either a Yankees game or Broadway play, classic alcohol package aboard, and all transfers before/after cruise...and flying via JFK, the transfers alone made it worth the package.
The hotel was the Westin in Times Square and is a great location for tourists and a very nice hotel. The room was nice, but the view was not so much...didn't matter since we were seeing the sights most of the time. Being familiar with New York and the subway system is a plus since the traffic was crazy. We took the train everywhere. 20 minutes to Yankee Stadium, 15 minutes to 9-11 memorial, 15 minutes to Little Italy, etc...
Celebrity dropped the ball on our JFK pick-up as they stated I should have received a packet with a transfer voucher and instructions...I never received said packet from the TA or Celebrity, a few phone calls fixed the oversight and within an hour of arriving at JFK, we were transferred to the hotel in a VERY cramped van and with traffic and drop-offs, it was a 2 hour ride...so 3hours after landing, we arrived a the hotel and headed to a bar to relax. :)
The transfer to the ship was a nice motorcoach and in 30-40 minutes on a Sunday, we arrived.
Note: once you load your luggage at the hotel, you will not see it again until it arrives at your cabin, they do not tell you this until AFTER you load it and are in your bus seat. One gentleman was unaware and badly needed a piece of luggage, they allowed him to retrieve it from the bus at the port, but they were not thrilled to do so.
Check in was a breeze, but you have to ride a shuttle to the ship as the cruiseport is not complete.
Upon boarding, we were whisked directly into a private elevator and escorted to a nice complimentary brunch in Normandie. The service was good, but the food sadly was not.
We arrived at our nice cabin and quickly met our steward, Maria, and butler, Orlando. They were fantastic and provided the service Celebrity is known for. We were very fortunate to enjoy their services, they do a fantastic job.
Our last Summit cruise was 04/2012 and the ship has had a facelift since and we were pleased with the changes. Every crew/staff member we encountered were very friendly and courteous (wish I could say the same about many of the passengers) and a complete 180 degrees apart from the Reflection cruise we took in 01/2014.
We liked the changes to the buffet with the basket system as it served many purposes including cleanliness and portion control and it was nice having trays although they could be a bit larger due to plate size. Their was a nice variety to the food, but the quality has declined overall.
Qsine was great as usual, but the main dining room food quality suffers the same as the buffet. We dined in Blu on "yellow" lobster night...not impressed at all except for the service, all crew/staff were fantastic.
We enjoyed the activities on board, but the quality of music has suffered the same budget cuts as the food it seems. If it weren't for the DJ's, it would be a quiet ship as the live music was sub-par. The duo in the Martini bar (where we lived each night) played the exact same beat on every single song, we could swear it was the same song played for 2 hours with a different note thrown in occasionally.
The sea days themselves were great we were fortunate to have nice weather throughout. The port of Bermuda was pleasing and clean and the people we encountered were friendly. We will consider going back for a land trip in the future as their are some very nice resorts on the island.
Disembarkation was satisfactory, but still crowded and slow. This time, celebrity arranged for us to be transferred in a 4 person van and we were in JFK with in 45 minutes (Sunday traffic is light in the a.m.).
We enjoy the M-class Celebrity ships, but Celebrity needs to review their food quality and entertainment choices fleet-wide.