Well, I have been home a week and am still trying to rejoin the land of the normal. We went on the Summit on June 6 and had a wonderful time. I have to thank everyone for all their help in answering my questions. I will post some of my thoughts below.
Background Information - We are a family of 5 going on our first cruise. 47,46,22,20,and 16. My husband spent many months on an aircraft carrier and wasn't really excited about going on a cruise. He finally agreed to celebrate our 25th anniversary and our oldest daughter's graduation from college. It was my one shot to get him to like cruising.
Travel To Port of Embarkation - We stayed in New York for 2 days before sailing and hired a private car to pick us up and take us to the port.... www.blackexecutivecars.com.... I used them per advise I rec'd here and would highly recommend them again. We asked for a suburban and it fit all 5 of us and our enormous amounts of luggage. It was so nice to not have to worry about cost of taxi's, etc.
Embarkation - We arrived at the port about 10:45, our luggage was taken very fast and we went right in to check in. No waiting. After checking in to both rooms, we had to wait a short while before boarding. But we had seats and air conditioning and they provided punch and water if you were thirsty. After a short while they started calling boarding to the shuttles by the numbers you were given at check in. The only problem here was that you can not understand the announcement very well as it is muffled. But we just asked what was said of an employee and moved closer to be able to hear. Our number was called and we were shuttled to ship. Easy check in. We had 4 bottles of wine in one bag (we had 2 rooms, so were allowed that). We wondered if we would be stopped as it was in one bag and they didn't know we had 2 rooms. No one ever looked in our bag or questioned it. It went through xray machine no problem. We then ate lunch in the buffet and when we were done, they announced our rooms were ready.
Stateroom - We had originally booked 2 inside rooms as this was our first time and my husband didn't want to spend more as he thought it wouldn't matter. I was lucky enough to grab a military discount and upgrade our room to a veranda room. We were in room 7163 which has a slightly larger veranda than the average, as it is on a curve of the ship. The kids were in an inside stateroom 2139. We are hooked on having a veranda. LOVED being able to look out and see. Spent evenings before supper relaxing out there. The kids would meet us and we would spend a little time together out there before heading to dinner.
The kids actually loved their inside room due to the total darkness when lights were out. My son slept on a pull out couch that blocks the way to the bathroom or door, but they just climbed over it when needed. The stateroom attendant would open and close it evening and morning, so it wasn't a real problem. My 6 foot son was long for it, but he refused to trade with his sisters, saying he curled up anyway. Such a gentleman!
Stateroom was clean and arranged very well for it's 170 square feet. We had plenty of space to put our clothes and put our empty suitcases under the door. I wouldn't have thought twice about the decor except someone else had mentioned the cowboy curtains. Yes, there were cowboy curtains ... a little dated... but it was all very clean and in good condition. I didn't see any rust in our room. Both our attendants were awesome and kept our room very clean. We had clean towels anytime we used one. It was replaced next time we were out of the room, it seemed. Replaced our shampoo before I had to ask for another one. Excellent service. Our attendant was Newton and he knew our first names the first day and always stopped and asked how things were going when he saw us. I asked how many rooms he had and we he said 20, I was shocked he could remember our names.
Service - Service on the ship was awesome. Everyone was very friendly and ready to help at the drop of a hat. I did not experience anything less than excellent. Our table was cleaned as soon as we were finished eating or drinking something. After first night at dinner, when they saw we had 3 soda cards, we always had Diet cokes waiting for us on our arrival. Our waiters were fantastic. We had Wirata and Catalin. We loved going to dinner. Catalin was assistant waiter, but should be a head waiter, he was awesome. At the end of the meals, if they had time, they would do magic tricks or mind games with us. Just the thing my family loves to do. We had 6 PM seating and it was perfect for us.
Entertainment and Activities - We loved going to the shows every evening. They were all good, some great. Don't miss the first night... preview of shows. They brought out the Neptunes whom perform everyday in different venues. They are an a cappella group and are fantastic.. Find them on the ship.Also you need to find John Winters... he plays acoustic guitar and sings great mellow music. Jack Johnson type things. Loved listening to him.
Bermuda - We take the laid back attitude on our trips. We loved Bermuda for this purpose. We got a 2 day bus, ferry pass and it cost $20 for adults and $10 for our 16 year old. We took the bus to Horseshoe Bay the first day and just went to the main beach. Very beautiful. Lots of people, but still easy to find a place to park. Second day we were going to try another beach, but it was easiest to catch the bus to Horseshoe Bay again. When we got off the beach, instead of going straight down to the beach we walked just a little past the stop where there were trails. There was a clean port a potty right at top also (so if you do this.. you don't have to trudge down the long hill to the bathrooms at main beach). We hiked on the trails... beautiful. You end up walking on the cliffs overlooking the beach. Just gorgeous. After a hike, we climbed down to the beach and were able to be all secluded. Just us and the gorgeous beach. Every now and then someone would walk by your little cove, but then they were gone and we were alone again. At end of day we hiked back up where we came down and walked a little farther down and then back to main room and came to a bus stop by Warwick Beach. Excellent day.
Teenagers and Young Adults - There were a few teens on board, but not many. Not many single young adults. If they had been on board, I am sure my kids would have enjoyed it, but this did not stop them from enjoying what we had. We are used to taking secluded vacations where it is just family. My kids enjoyed laying at the pool, hanging with each other and family and just relaxing. We and they did go to the Revelations bar in the evening some. They enjoyed watching some of us old fogies dancing. The most fun night was the night they have the 60's party. We didn't make it every night, so there could have been other very active nights. We were just exhausted and wanted to relax.
Summit - The ship was in fine shape. Was it new? No. Did the decor need updated? Sure Did that impact the trip at all? No It was clean, well kept and beautiful! I wouldn't have thought to even notice the outdated things if I hadn't read about it before. Did I see rust? No... but I wasn't looking. I said something to my husband about the rust comments I had read on hear and he was shocked. Being a Navy man... he said "It's a ship at sea, there WILL be rust.... " I know there was rust, but I didn't go looking for it and didn't notice any. My kids got a laugh in the stairways each day. There were Busts on each floor of females. They took pictures of them as they looked liked female drag queens or something. These will definitely be gone I am sure when the Summit is upgraded. Even with the ship decor being outdated, the ship was beautiful and well kept!
Getting on and off ship at Port - This was easy and very nice to have cold towels and drinks waiting when we got back. I did want to put this in here just as a head's up for those traveling with young adult women. Before getting back to the ship, you have to go through the Bermuda Port Authority Check point, where they check your ID and do occasional x rays of bags and random checks. They tend to do this if you are in the line closest to the machine. My daughter was picked as a random check and we walked through waiting for her. It took some time. When she came out, she had tears in her eyes and said she felt "dirty". The man talking to her was looking her over and asking if she wanted to go out that night. My husband wanted to go back, but as we were not in the US, we decided not to push anything. After that we made sure we were ALL in the left lane and knew if one of the girls were picked, we would just stand there before leaving the building. I saw the man eyeing my daughter the next day and I EYED him. He looked away, and left her alone. It was not a Celebrity employee or we would have talked to them. Just wanted to give that heads up. Especially to people traveling with young adults.
Disembarkation - We had been given 2 different disembarkation times, so my husband talked to guest services and they changed us. We requested last call. We were down to breakfast at 8 AM. Ate, went back to room and had to be at meeting room at 9:20. We sat and talked in the lounge chairs until they called for us to disembark. We walked off .. waited about 5 minutes to board a shuttle and were taken to the place where our luggage was. Walked to where our luggage was, walked right to customs, no waiting... and out to cars. Called the car service, told them what "gate" we were at and we were pulling out at 10:30. No problem.
Summary - Excellent first cruise!! Met all our expectations and more. The most telling thing is that my husband is ready to do another cruise!! He was talking Alaska before we got off. Oh, but he is hooked on having a veranda!
So, love Celebrity and loved Summit. Would go again in a heartbeat!!