Background - We are a family of four that loves cruising. We are avid Royal Caribbean cruisers, but have also cruised on NCL, Carnival and Cunard. My wife and I are in our forties and our two boys are ages 12 and 6. This was our first time on Celebrity Cruises, but we were given Elite member status due to our Diamond level status on Royal Caribbean and they offer matching benefits on Celebrity. This was our 17th cruise overall.
Embarkation - Cape Liberty Cruise Port (Bayonne, NJ) is an easy point of embarkation for cruise passengers. The port services ships from Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises. We arrived at the pier at 10:45am and were on the ship by 12:15pm. There was a bit of a delay due to a surprise US Coast Guard safety inspection and a USPH health inspection. Normally the embarkation process is faster. Given the pop inspections, I'll excuse the delay we experienced.
Ship Information - The Celebrity Summit entered service in 2001. Not that long ago, but the ship is considered an older one in the cruise industry. The ship was tastefully decorated and was not showing much wear and tear. The crew spends alot of time maintaining the ship and it shows. The handrails were a little worn, but that was about it. The ship is well designed and easy to navigate. The only choke point for passenger flow is in the Waterfall Cafe. This is the ship's buffet area on the aft end of the ship. It is an old style buffet line (not stations like newer ships)that tends to back up when crowded. You cannot take your own food. The crew behind the buffet gives the food you request and places it on a very hot plate. Unless you want salad or fruits, do not take a plate at the beginning of the line. Take your tray and silverware and wait for the plate when you ask for the food. The pool area is small and can get congested on sea days, but we never had a problem finding a chair or having fun in the pool or the hot tubs.
Smoking Policy - Celebrity Cruises has one of the most restrictive smoking policies in the industry. Smoking is prohibited in the staterooms and balconies. It is also prohibited in all interior public areas including the casino. You may smoke on the outer decks on the port side in designated areas. You may also smoke on the port side of the outside terrace of the Waterfall Cafe. This is located on the very tip of the aft end of the ship on deck 10. It did not seem to bother most people I spoke with on board, but if you're a smoker who needs to light up in the room, on the balcony, at the bar or in the casino find another cruise line. I am a smoker and it did not inconvenience me at all.
Service - The service is very good, but it is relaxed. They do not have pool waiters trolling for drink orders every 10 seconds like other lines. They leave you alone and let you relax and enjoy the pool. It took me a couple days to get used to this, but after that, it was great. No announcements over the PA advertising bingo and art auctions. Bring your daily program with you when you leave the room. The dining room service was very good. Our waiter Allan David was excellent. Our stateroom attendant Benny Pacheo was also excellent.
Stateroom - We had an inside quad room on deck 2. This was a first for us staying so low in the ship, but it paid off. No loud noises from other decks, no rocking of the ship. Nice and quiet and stable. It was also large for an inside at 170 sq ft. Plenty of storage space for four people. The shower was larger than I expected. The kids beds came down from the ceiling and the queen bed was under them. Also a nice size closet.
Kids Club - Both of our sons liked the kids clubs. Our six year old went to the Fun Factory and our 12 year old went to the Tower. Both had a good time, but had the same complaints. The spaces were small at warm. Also too many scavenger hunts and not enough video game time. :)).
Dining - The food quality was excellent. No matter where we ate, the food was great. The best consistent food quality of any ship we have sailed.
Entertainment - It was okay. The production shows were well done, but the programs were not well coordinated and did not flow well. The comedian was good and the magician was good. The piano player was boring and we had to leave. This was not a strong point of the ship.
Activities - The activities were relaxed as well. No high energy ones. They were spread out during the day. One thing that surprised me was the absence of activities at the pool during the day. They just let you swim and tan. If you want alot of activities like Royal Caribbean, don't go on this ship. The mood is relaxed everywhere on this ship.
Ports - Newport, R.I and Kings Wharf, Bermuda. Good stops. We did not get off at Newport. You had to tender to the pier and we did not want that aggravation. We enjoyed the pool that day. Bermuda is a great island and we loved it. Avoid the ship excursions and buy a bus/ferry pass and see the island on your own. We went to the beach and Crystal Caves.
Disembarkation - Smooth. Off of the ship at the appointed time an into the car in less than 20 minutes. Wonderful!!!
Overall - We loved this cruise. We needed to relax and the Summit provided the perfect venue for that. No hurry for anything and the service was excellent. Great going Celebrity!!!