We left home and picked up friends met thru Cruise Critic who agreed to share the auto/tolls/parking expense. This was our first cruise we did not need to fly to and what a pleasure to not have to weigh our suitcases! Arrived at Cape Liberty cruise port at 10:10AM. Signs getting in were pretty good but once on the loop there were no signs and we were inadvertently in the pick up queue rather than the drop off. No big deal, but it would be nice if it was made clear where to go.
Dropped everyone off and the porters took the luggage promptly. Took 2 minutes to park, and then a 2 minute walk to the terminal where I quickly found my DW. They checked our passports, we passed thru security, and were at the counter within 5 minutes. 5 more minutes brought out our seapass cards and we were given shuttle pass #1. They told us that boarding would begin at 11:00, and iced water and fruit punch was available while we waited.
At about 11:05 an unintelligible announcement was made but we saw the shuttle bus and we figured it was time. Sure enough, we were soon on the shuttle and 2 minutes later were walking on to the Summit. Photo taken, and Celebrity’s traditional welcome champagne or mimosa was handed out. We were told lunch service would begin at noon so we used our time to explore the ship.
We took a number of photos from Deck 11 as a beautiful day allowed great vistas of the Statue of Liberty, the Verrazano bridge (which we would later sail under), the Brooklyn bridge, and of course Manhattan. We found the much talked about Thalassotherapy pool and explored the major public decks. At about 11:50 we found ourselves back on Deck 10 and the Waterfall buffet was now serving lunch. We found a table by the windows looking out over the waters and watched a few Coast Guard fast boats pass by on patrol while enjoying our lunch.
After lunch we each obtained bowl of ice cream and took it out by the pool where we found a shady spot to sit and enjoy. At about 1:30 we headed down to deck two and found our cabin, #2051. A basic interior cabin but we were pleased that it had more storage space than our outside cabin on the Century from our last cruise. The bathroom is in excellent condition and the bed reasonably comfortable. The upholstered chair is showing some signs of wear but overall the cabin is in good condition and it was quite comfortable.
We met our cabin steward, Edwin, and the first half of our luggage arrived very quickly. The last piece of luggage was misdirected and was not found until nearly dinner time, causing some concern to DW as that piece has all the evening wear! We quickly unpacked the available luggage and changed into swimwear and headed up to the pool, where we relaxed until shortly before the muster drill. We got through the muster drill and headed up to the Mast Bar where we had arranged an informal get together for our roll call. One of our members, (thanks, Ed!) had prepared name tags for everyone.
Dr Feel Good at the Mast Bar was kept very busy as it was quite warm and the natives thirsty. We left dock and began our quick trip through the harbor and under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, this was quite a sight! All too soon is was time to prepare for our first dinner, fixed seating at 6:00 PM.
The first evening’s dinner was excellent. What was not so thrilling was that we were placed at a table of twelve. I’m sorry, but 12 is just too big a table. We liked our waiter, Noriega, and enjoyed our tablemates. All future cruises we will request a table no larger than 6, be willing to settle for 8, but no larger. Noriega did give us a great tip that Monday would be the Celebrity Brunch so don’t try to come to the dining room for breakfast as they would not be open!
After dinner we listened for a bit to the Elk Island Trio, did a dance or two, and attended the opening show. Not that it was bad, but we had a hard time staying awake. As soon as the show was over it was to our cabin to collapse!
Monday was the first of two sea days en route to Bermuda. Our CC Connections party was at 10:00 AM and we had an invitation waiting in our room at embarkation. Regretfully, some of our members did not receive their invite and therefore missed the party. With 135 or so signed up for the party, about half attended. The cruise director Matt, the Hotel Manager, and other senior staff attended. We enjoyed meeting each other and firmed up plans for a slot pull later that day and a few of us were planning to visit St George’s in Bermuda after docking on Wednesday.
After the party 6 of us attended the Celebrity Brunch together. The Brunch is very well done and was very enjoyable. The “Two for one” on the Mimosa’s was a nice treat - that’s good marketing, Celebrity! The rest of Monday is a blur as I write this on Friday afternoon. I do know that we ran into the “Chair hog” situation on Monday afternoon. Trying to find two chairs near the Thalassotherapy Pool was very frustrating. Several chairs were noticed with nothing more than a towel. Seeing two of these together I asked a lady in the next chair if anyone had been there recently. She replied not for a very long time. We asked a pool guy and he took the towels away. Buried under one of the towels was a t-shirt. He said to put it on the floor behind the chair.
I fell asleep, but my wife said about 30 minutes later a woman came in looking for her things and seemed very insulted that her t-shirt had been moved. One of our tablemates relayed a similar story except in their case it was 3 ½ hours later when the chairs “Owner” showed up, very irate. As a note, the chair-hog situation was even worse on Tuesday, and I noted on my survey that Celebrity needs to find a way to address this. It is simply not right that if you want to partake in some ship sponsored activity in the morning or middle of the day and would like to enjoy some pool time afterwards, that it is not possible to find a place to relax on the pool deck.
Monday’s dinner was again very good, and we appreciated the head’s up by Noriega that Tuesday morning a galley tour would be offered. We went to the theater for the Captain’s welcome toast and stayed for the opening act of the show. It seemed similar to a show we saw earlier in the year on the Century and we recalled we didn’t care for it much, so we left. Here is another area Celebrity could improve - have options for those who don’t want to attend the show. There is really NOTHING going on during the main show. Come on, with 2,000 passengers we can’t be the only ones who would rather dance and perhaps spend a few $$$ in a lounge than watch some of these shows. HAL offers this in their Ocean bar, come on Celebrity!
Tuesday we hit the Thalassotherapy Pool early and then had breakfast. DW had breakfast from the Spa Café while I walked to get those wonderful waffles and brought them back to the spa café area. We changed clothes and greatly enjoyed the galley tour. This far exceeded our expectations. After the tour the rest of the day is a blur, but as previously mentioned we were unable to find any deck chairs except on the smoking side of deck 4. We moved a couple of chairs all the way forward so that any smokers would be downwind from us.
Okay, time for a tangent here on smoking. We have been more “Annoyed” by smoking on this cruise than we were on either of our two HAL cruises in the past year, or on our cruise on the Century. The aft deck 10 is a nice area, and one side is supposed to be one of the allowed smoking areas. Yet routinely smokers seem to take over the entire bar area, and their smoke is very noticeable all over aft deck 10. We witnessed people smoking by the outdoor pool area and leaving their ashes for people to walk on in their bare feet. We never had this situation on HAL and as we don’t frequent the Casino or the Sports bar the fact that those are HAL smoking areas never bothered us.
Back to the cruise. Tuesday dinner was again very good but seemed to run a little slower. We were not out of the dining room until 8:00. Seems like this doesn’t give the staff much time to prepare for second seating. Heard from some of our cruise critic friends that second seating service borders on “Too slow,” seeming to always take 2 hours to complete their meal. Also, no announcements tonight from Noriega, in fact, he was no where to be found after bringing our dessert. After dinner we again enjoyed the Elk Island Trio and sat with our tablemates from the UK, who turned out to be excellent dancers! We attended the show with them, getting the last few seats on the balcony. The magician was pretty good - we stayed awake!
Wednesday morning we were up early to watch the sailing into Bermuda. During the sail in we got breakfast from the Waterfall café (waffles! & more) and found an outdoor table aft. We enjoyed Bermuda immensely, visiting St. George’s on Wednesday followed by snorkeling at Tobacco Bay. Thursday we took the ferry to Hamilton, shopped a little, had our passports stamped, and then took a bus to Horseshoe Bay. Horseshoe bay was very crowded and we decided to have a taxi take us to Church Bay. We snorkeled at Church Bay and found tidal pools that were like aquariums filled with pretty little fish. We took a bus back to the ship and after a quick pool grill burger, walked over to the Snorkel park hoping to get in a little more activity this day. The snorkel park now charges $5/person admittance, which was “New” the prior week (all reports on cruise critic prior to our departure was that there was no charge to use the facilities there). As we had little time left that day, we decided not to enter.
Friday we took the Jessie James snorkel expedition which was wonderful. We shopped the dockyard for a good part of the afternoon and then returned to the Summit to prepare for our second formal night.
We ate dinner on Wednesday and Thursday in the Waterfall Café casual dining alternative. The food was superb both nights, while the service on Wednesday (a slow night to be sure) was wonderful while on Thursday (a busy evening) it was only acceptable.
Friday evening as we sailed away from Bermuda we danced a few numbers to the trio before heading to our formal dinner. All twelve of us were at our table. Two people were extra smart and asked that their lobster be served in the traditional style with drawn butter, wish I had done the same. Dinner was very good and was followed by the baked Alaska parade.
Saturday was a rocking day at sea. We were busy with attending the chef’s competition and crew talent show (not to be missed!). We had our only lunch in the dining room and then attended the Captain’s Club party, which was beyond our expectations. We packed most of our suitcases and attended a classical concert by the excellent string quartet. We next went to “Swing dance” class, but found it was canceled due to a scheduling conflict and they could not find a room to give the class. We relaxed a short time on the very windy (and rocking) pool deck and then went to our final dining room dinner.
Our table of 12 only had 7 present tonight. We enjoyed our dinners and the before and after dinner dancing in the lounge. We attended the closing show and enjoyed it.
Sunday morning we had our only breakfast in the dining room. It was okay, and we were served quickly. As we had a later disembarkation, we went and enjoyed the deck 10 aft open area and sipped some coffee and tea. We gathered up our belongings and went to our assigned spot exactly as directed. Upon arrival we were told that our color was called 10 minutes prior. So, we headed out, and left the Summit behind.
Disembarkation took a total of 30 minutes to exit the ship, take the shuttle bus, gather our luggage, and wait in line for customs. Not bad at all.
Summary: All things considered, this cruise was an 8 out of 10. What would have made it a 10? Some form of music for dancing while the main show is happening and better management of the deck chair hog situation. We booked the Celebrity Infinity for a two week fall Panama canal cruise while on board.