Every vacation has a hiccup, from the minor - no dress socks to the OH NO - forgot to pack the Passport. Ours was that we booked a PARK HERE, CRUISE THERE package at the Courtyard - Elizabeth, NJ. During check-in, I tried to set a departure time for shuttle to Cruise Port. I was informed that the hotel did not provide transportation to Cruise Port. I verified the website (hard copy-screenshots) stated that transportation would be provided for all registered guests, but the evening manager confirmed that the hotel did not provide transportation to Cruise Port. So I called Corporate CSR, who negotiated with the Courtyard - Elizabeth General Mgr to provide transportation.
We have done 7-8 Park & Cruise packages with Marriot brands as well as non- Marriot branded hotels. This is the first that had a package that didn't include cruise port transportation. The hotel General Manager stepped up to the plate to arrange and provide round-trip taxi transportation. I'm confident the hotel's website will be updated to clarify this transportation anomaly.
Arrived at embarkation center about noon Sunday. Embarkation went smoothly and we were on board in 30 minutes. We were booked Concierge which eliminated probably another 20 minutes.
We were on deck 8 midship, Room 8075 Concierge. Very nicely appointed room with veranda, bottle of champagne was cooling in bucket and the cruise long bottomless fruit basket was excellent. We visited the luncheon twice the first couple of hours to grab a snack prior to late seating but the lines were long so we returned to cabin or went exploring the Summit. Lines during remainder of cruise were short and moved quickly.
First stop was Newport, RI, we and several hundred other passengers opted to take the tenders at 10am because it took 2 hours to get ashore. We had planned to do the Cliff Walk but opted out due to the late landing, in addition, the temps were in the 90s with 80% humidity so we would have probably been uncomfortable during the walk. We visited some of the historical sites and nautical museums in the port area and had an enjoyable time.
Summit provided drink and cool washcloths as we waited for tendering back to ship. The wait was a very reasonable 30 minutes for return tendering to ship.
We love our at sea days, I'm a sun and drink person so you have to do very poorly for me to be unhappy. My wife is a NO sun person but does walk the track every morning & she loved the track size on the Summit. Wasn't a cushioned track like most of Carnival ships but it didn't seem to bother her. I've got to say the population of lounge chair "hogs" on this cruise was high. I'd be on pool deck mid morning & I would see chairs with a book and towel go unattended until mid-afternoon. In one group of 4 chairs, I never saw anyone utilize until the pool butlers picked up towels and books at 7pm. As a frequent cruiser I accept this as a bump in the road, if only someone could devise a method to mitigate the chair hogs. DW tried to strike up several conversations with the 7am walkers with hopes of establishing a permanent walking partner the remainder of the cruise. This met with little success.
Bermuda is a beautiful island with gracious helpful residents. The transportation system for visitors is excellent. We were here for the first time 3 years ago & prices have gone up 40-50% IMHO. Three ships on the island may have attributed to the price rise, but if so, then that is gouging. We did Harbor Nights in Hamilton & had a excellent dinner at the food kiosks. But the parade was High School quality, minimal crafts, & basically a tourist trap opportunity. Fort tour in Dockyard was very good and fed my history buff leanings.
Entertainment The illusionist, Adam Trent, had an excellent way of connecting with the audience. I frequently thought he was speaking of & to me directly, an excellent talent for someone in any field of endeavor. A very polished performer.
Tim Kruse, the lounge pianist, was fun to listen to and talk with. Every so often he would do the beginning riffs of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. He didn't want to play it because he didn't know all the verses to the ballad, so one night myself and several others in the Michael's Club convinced him to play the song and we would sing the ballad. We had a great sign along and Bohemian Rhapsody sung by the Muppets kept going threw my mind as we sang. Certainly not the rendition Freddie Mercury had in mind but I doubt he rolled over in his grave either, I'm confident we did Freddie proud.
Didn't realize what we missed when we bypassed The Neptunes earlier in the cruise until we heard them sing during the Saturday night's variety show. Missed opportunities.
Fred Klett was one of the top 2 comedians of our 16 cruises. Another example of how great humor can be accomplished without vulgarity or insults.
Tried to attend the acoustical guitarist/vocalist John Winters whenever possible. It was great when he played at the pool stage as his music floated across the deck with the light breeze.
The Ship's Crew Talent show was 3 acts, all excellent. Two singers, one doing a Tom Jones number. The third was a our martini bartender who did an excellent magic show.
The Jr. Cruiser Talent show (Cruiser's children) was good and fun. The 10-12 yo with the talent of licking her elbow was brief and comical as I saw several in the audience casually trying the same feat. A 16 yo rocked when he played and sang a Mick Jaeger (R Stones) song on the piano, several children played classical and modern pieces on the piano. A 7 yo girl played a 7-8 minute classical piece from memory without skipping a beat or missing a key. At least not that my tone deaf ear could identify.
All the dinners & meal presentations were excellent, some table members had issues with an occasional dinner selection but Hernan, our head waiter, always had a replacement dinner within a couple minutes.
Almost forgot to mention our stateroom steward. He was like a ghost. We'd be gone for 30 minutes some evenings and the room would be done. Excellent service.
Thank God we met a wonderful couple from the Pocono Mountains - Gary and Jackie. We spent most evenings with them in Michael's Club or martini bar listening to the entertainers on hand while having a fun lively conversation. They were gracious enough to give courtesy laughs to my corny attempts with jokes. On the other hand, we didn't have much in common with our dinner table guests. Nothing serious enough to change tables but there was stuffiness. The BS alarm went off a couple times when they were trying to outdo one another on the Broadway shows they've seen. We saw similar braggadocios behavior on our March Celebrity cruise also. One example of 3-4. We went off the reservation for the March Celebrity Mercury cruise out of Charleston because of the ports, unfortunately it was a Noro cruise and we booked this cruise to get a true feel for the Celebrity experience and to use our comp coupons. This Celebrity Summit cruise has sealed the deal though, we will return to Carnival, the Gulf and southern state cruisers. I can see the noses of Celebrity elitist rising to met the sky now, but so be it.
Speaking of the Gulf, pray for those of this misfortune.