Our May 9-16, 2010 cruise to Bermuda on Celebrity's Summit showed us why we love Celebrity. After a short Caribbean cruise on a competitor's ship in Feb., we were more than pleased to come back to Celebrity. No cigarette smoke on Celebrity. No drunks on Celebrity. No having to run the casino gauntlet (blue with smoke) to get anywhere on this Celebrity ship. No one hawking drinks every five minutes on Celebrity. In fact, Celebrity = Classy as they greet you with champagne when you board (no charge) and ply you with champagne in situations where you have prolonged waiting (e.g. when we had to wait in line for the galley tour). Since it was Mother's Day weekend, Celebrity even had a rose and chocolates for every lady.
Boarding and disembarking are well organized and done quickly. It was only a short wait til we were onboard and another short wait when we left the ship at the end of the cruise. Well managed and impressive! Our stateroom was near the stairs and elevator beneath the theater. We had pre-cruise concerns that it might be a busy and noisy location but it was not. Our stateroom was well cared for by the very friendly and accommodating staff. Our steward even found a bud vase to hold my Mother's Day rose!
The food was great. We tried the anytime dining experience for the first time and enjoyed the flexibility and the chance to meet new people each night. The menu choices and the service were very good. The only complaint about food that I might have is that the food at the grill by the pool was not hot, actually not even lukewarm in the case of my onion rings and my husband's fries. I appreciated the health bar's choices, just wish that bar was more accessible - nearer the "regular" food instead of near the spa.
The shows were exceptional! Phenomenal talent - singers, dancers, etc. Probably the best we have seen in our limited cruising experiences. The Neptunes, a mens' a cappella quartet, were outstanding. Could have listened to them all day and night. Note: We heard cruisers asking the same question we had: "Why does it take 3 days to get to Bermuda and only 2 days to get back?" Obviously this is a Celebrity choice. We would much rather have spent an extra day in Bermuda than going around in slow circles in the Atlantic In short, we were glad to be back with Celebrity, the cruising was great, and we had no complaints about our week on the Summit.
We were returning to Bermuda after living there 44 years ago and we found LOTS of changes. More and faster traffic, new buildings, more people, and fewer genuine Bermudans with their distinctive accent. The #1 main change is that the ships no longer dock at Hamilton or St. George. Though the new dock at King's Wharf is modern and nice, there is just not the ambience of looking out your window or balcony and seeing the real Bermuda towns and being able to step right out into the hustle and bustle of the streets. King's Wharf is a manufactured place, not the REAL Bermuda. The real shame about the advent of the King's Wharf "culture" is how this seems to be affecting St. George. When we lived there, the streets of St. George were busy with tourists at all hours of the day and night. The White Horse Tavern was hopping till late at night and shops were thriving. Right now, you can tell that St. George, with all its quiet charm, is struggling. Townspeople told us tourists come early and leave early and they don't come in great numbers as in the past. There is so much to see in and around historic St. George and I think many cruisers may be missing things like St. Peter's Church, Ft. St. Catherine, the quaint town square with its stocks, the Perfumery, meandering streets, etc. St. George is the epitome of the old Bermuda. Don't miss it.
On the bright side, the transportation system in Bermuda is great - fast, efficient, and on-time. You really don't need any excursions here. It is very easy to explore on your own. We bought a ferry/bus 3-day ticket - very reasonably priced - and used it to get all over the island. Just be careful when stepping off the curb! Remember that they drive on the LEFT side of the road, a hold-over from the days of British rule. We walked a lot so we could visit some of the more out-of-the-way places. Par-de-Ville Park in Hamilton is beautiful and Ft. Hamilton is worth the climb for a fantastic view of Hamilton's harbor. A bus ride along the South Shore gives you a great sense of the island's beauty. Don't forget to stop at Gibbs Hill lighthouse and climb to the top for a bird's eye view of the shoreline. And go to at least one beach to sample the pink sand and hunt for sea glass. John Smith beach is a lovely and quiet place if you want to avoid the crowd at Horseshoe Bay, Warwick Bay, etc. And don't miss photo ops at the many moongates around the island! It was great to not have to worry about money exchange rates. Bermuda accepts USD. Be aware that prices are pretty steep. If you are budget conscious, plan on bringing snacks and water bottles in your backpack or you will spend a bundle for food on the island. We talked to people who dropped $50 on a small lunch at a restaurant near the South Shore. As former Air Force people, we enjoyed the ride on #6 bus that took us through parts of the old Kindley AFB. Many of the military buildings are gone but many are being renovated and repurposed and I applaud all those who are making this possible. In short, the island is still beautiful, the flowers are fantastic, the beaches are pristine, the people are friendly, and shopping is still good. Bermuda is a place that should be on your bucket list.