My husband and I sailed on the Summit to NE and Canada the first week in August. We are in our mid to late 40's. and were below the median age of the passengers. For the most part this didn't have an impact on the trip.
Embarkation: Went very smoothly. We arrived at the pier at around 10:45 (after hitting a major rainstorm). There were still cruisers from the previous trip waiting to be picked up and getting off the ship, so there was slight chaos in getting to the unloading spot and then backing out. We pulled into the parking lot, got a close spot and while we were walking back to the loading area, one of the shuttle vans pulled over and offered us a lift. Since we were there early the lines were not too long and we did not have long to wait to register. We were in shuttle 2 over to the boat. The shuttle buses are on loan from Rutgers and are similar to city busses.
Crew: Captain Pappas, Chief Engineer: K. Petrakis, Hotel Director: J. Brackenbury, Cruise Director: Rob Wheatley, Executive Chef: Denton Laing. First day: After swiping our boarding pass and having our picture taken, we grabbed a Mimosa. There were choices of Mimosa, Orange Juice or straight Champagne. There was a long line to get to the elevators to take us to the Waterfall Cafe, but Carla, the asst. Hotel director, was directing people to go up the stairs. When I asked where they were, she said she would lead us. We went up the steps to a different bank of elevators and zipped up to the 10th fall and the Waterfall Cafe for lunch. There was a large selection to choose from: pizza, pasta station, salads, desserts and many other goodies. The lines were short and we quickly collected our food and found a table with a window overlooking gloomy Bayonne pier. Only in looking for issues, did I notice some of the chairs looked a little worn. The aqua spa cafe also had offerings for lunch, which are lighter fare, but we saw this after we had already eaten. At 1pm our room was ready. We had in inside stateroom, in good condition, nothing ripped or torn. We had the twin beds pushed together, two night tables with two draws each, a desk with a chair (some storage in the desk), two chairs and a glass table. The room was tight and the bathroom even tighter. Overall storage wasn't too bad a problem and all our stuff eventually found a place. Our luggage took a long time to arrive, as did several other passengers. We didn't receive it until almost 6pm and we had early dinner. Lifeboat drill was a little after 3. You are assigned a location, no life vests needed. We were fortunate to be assigned the theater. Sailaway was at 4pm. We enjoyed watching the boat sail under the bridge. There were activities being held including Martini Mixology, and aquaspa raffle and others. The show that night was the introduction to the talent on the ship. It was the usual dancing and singing talent, though we did enjoy the A Capella group, the Neptunes. After the show we headed to Revelations for the dance party. The band was Magnitude. We actually enjoyed the DJ's music better.
Day 2: Sea Day: We ate in the MDR so we could meet other people. The breakfast menu stayed the same all week and included smoked salmon, bagel and capers. (I know this because everytime we ate in the MDR for breakfast, this is what my husband had.) There was also an assortment of omelots, fruit, eggs, pancakes, french toast, meats, etc. There were a lot of interesting activities this day, however it was sunny and beautiful and we spent a good deal of the time sitting in the sun. No problem getting chairs. The ones by the pool have a very comfy cushion on them. 10am was the Celebrity Connections party. Not everyone came, but those who did met some of the staff. Lunch was at the buffet. I wasn't as crazy about the food in the buffet. It was ok, but I wouldn't rave about it. I got a Panini and my husband some Chinese. He didn't care for the Chinese food. After I ate I remembered the aqua spa cafe, they had some great lunch offerings. The activities personnel were friendly and courteous and went out of their way to be sure you had a good time. Also that afternoon was one of the Savor series of events. Four different members of the kitchen staff demonstrated how to make different dishes: Sushi, Crepes, Tiramisu and a fish dish. There was also trivia in the afternoon, lots of renew activities, bingo, seminars, casino games, etc. Dinner that night was the first formal. There were men in tuxes, but most men wore suits. We did also see those that were more casually dressed in the dining room and in the theater that night. The Maitre d' was very courteous. We were able to get a table change and he came by to check on the status. This night we went to watch the Neptunes perform in the Cova Cafe before that night's theater performance. The show that night was one with the celebrity dancers and singers. It was ok, standard cruise fare in our opinion. There was also Karaoke after the show, as well as a formal night dance party in the lounge.
Day 3: Portland: The ship docked in Portland early, but since our tour wasn't until later we ate in the MDR. We went on a Foodie walking tour of Portland. We enjoyed this tour which gave us some of the highlights about Portland and the places we were passing, with the opportunity to taste samples of different delicacies, including Lobster, smoked Trout, Whoopie Pie, Truffles, Cheese, Blueberry preserves and scones and local brewed beer. We headed back to the ship after for a quick bite at the grill for hamburgers (which were very good) and some trivia contests. Every afternoon while we were in port they had a fun in the sun general trivia and an hour later music trivia. (while in port there were various activities: shuffleboard, movies, trivia, etc.) After dinner my husband went to a jameson Whiskey Tasting. (there is a small charge for this and the other liquor tastings. ) The show that night was an impersonator/comedian, Sean O'Shea. My husband didn't care for him, I thought he was ok. This night was the 50's and 60's dance in Revelations. The Celebrity dancers put on a little routine and then danced with the guests until around 11:30.
Day 4: Bar Harbor: We watched the ship pull into Bar Harbor. It was a very foggy morning and we were worried about our trip to Cadillac Mountain. Since we had to get our tour tickets at 9:30 we need to be on a tender by 9. We ate at the buffet on deck 10. There was a huge assortment of items for breakfast, from the homemade waffles (two stations), omelot stations, assorted meats, etc. We got to the theater around 8:15 to get our tickets for the tender. We were on a tender and in Bar Harbor by 8:45. We took Oli's Trolley to Acadia National Park. They had three trolleys running the 2 ½ hour tour. We were on the second trolley. We enjoyed the tour of the park and the view from Cadillac Mountain was amazing. We were lucky because our tour guide changed the order of the trip so went up the mountain after the fog had lifted. One of the trolley drivers did not, so those individuals missed out on the scenic view. After the tour, we went to the West St. Cafe for lunch. My husband had a steamed lobster and I got a lobster roll. Both of us enjoyed our meal immensely. Entertainment tonight was a magician, Adam Trent. We enjoyed his show, especially his close-up magic (card tricks, etc). At this point we realized many people were changing after dinner into more casual clothes. After the show was the Newlywed Game, which was hilarious, as always. My husband enjoys dancing and likes a night life. This ship was a little weak in this area. We would go to the dance club, Revelations, every night, but it wasn't ever really crowded, except on the nights they had special dances. Even then by midnight it was emptied out of all but the regulars. Tonight was Spaghetti Western party, we got there after that because we decided to gamble.
Day 5: St. John, N.B : This was not one of our favorite ports. It was very foggy and cold. We decided to do the hop on, hop off pink bus in case it rained. We headed out immediately to the Reversing Falls and saw it at high tide. We couldn't make out much through the fog, so opted to watch the movie. It was very interesting and gave us an understanding of what the falls really are. We went on all three tours that were offered and then went back to the Reversing Falls at low tide. We could see even less then. Our highlight was stopping for coffee at Tim Horton. Great iced coffee and donut. The show this night was a comedian, Jeff McDonald. We enjoyed him a lot, especially his slide show comparing Celebrity to Carnival. tonight was the Sizzle party, but because of the cold and fog, it was moved inside to Revelations.
Day 6: Halifax: We watched the ship pull into Halifax. The day was going to be a sunny and hot one. We just took a self-guided walking tour. We made stops at the Maritime Museum (enjoyed the exhibit on Titanic, and Halifax explosion), Citadel, Public Gardens and finished our tour at Alexander Heath's brewery for a beer. This was the second formal night, so while the ship was in port until 7pm, we went back to the ship at 4pm to get ready for dinner. The second formal night there were less tuxes (my husband was one who switched to a suit.) tonight the waiters did the walk with the baked Alaska. Dinner tonight had the choice of lobster tails and other stuff. Everyone who ordered lobster at our table asked for two tails. Two of us got the Tornados of Beef which was excellent. The best meal I had all week (and I did enjoy most meals.) For the show that night, we got to see the Celebrity Dances and Singers in "Encore". We really found this show amateurish. However tonight was the chocolate buffet. Here were all the ice sculptures people are missing since there are no longer the midnight buffets.
Day 7: At Sea: Today was the last relaxing day before our vacation ended. We started the day with the breakfast buffet and then went to one of the last Trivia games of the day. At 10 was the Chef showdown, followed by the staff talent show. They had a couple of singers and a magician. We really enjoyed this show, as did most who watched. My husband scheduled a Ping Pong rematch with the crew member for the afternoon, but in the morning participated in a Ping Pong tournament.During the day today we relaxed in the sun (never had a problem finding chairs, the chair hogs this trip were at a minimum), played trivia, watched ice sculpting, shopped and played Bingo. There were plenty of activities to choose from. Some of our tablemates went to a lecture on the Titanic and they really enjoyed it. I had read many reviews that dinner on the last night was not good. Two of our tablemates got the steak and found it tough, another had the best steak he had ever had. My husband enjoyed the Veal Cordon Bleu, while I enjoyed the Tom Turkey. The entertainment tonight was an encore of the past weeks performances. We enjoyed Adam Trent even more tonight, but really did not like Sean's encore performance.
Debarkation: We were assigned an 8:20 meeting time in the lounge. After meeting our dinner table mates for a last meal (breakfast in the MDR), we headed over. Our group was called at around 8:25 (we were the third or fourth group). We breezed through customs, walked to our car with our luggage and were home by 9:45. (We live around 45 minutes from the pier.) Food and Drinks: We did not get the beverage package and for us that was a smart decision. While we did have a drink or two most nights and a couple of specialty coffees, we spent way less than a single package price. We ate all our dinners in the MDR. We enjoyed most meals in the MDR, both breakfast and dinner. We would rate the food between 3 and 4 stars, depending upon the meal and dish. I liked the Mushroom Capuccino soup and Strawberry soup, but did not care for the cold pumpkin soup. The one night I had salmon it was ok, but nothing special. My husband enjoyed his lamb shank one night. I also enjoyed most of the appetizers I ordered and everyone had shrimp cocktail many times. There were some meals I ordered more than one appetizer because I couldn't choose. Most of the desserts were good, though I really enjoyed the blueberry topped cheesecake in the Cova Cafe area. No one from our table left hungry. While the portions appear small, they are actually just the right size (I think we Americans are so used to supersize, we forget what normal portions are.) The Cova Cafe is available for specialty coffees, which were very good. The is also a pastry area (opposite the bar). All afternoon and evening there were pastries, however during lunchtime and other times they also had little sandwiches. I had a really good sandwich one afternoon for a late lunch. The aqua spa food was good. Lite and healthy breakfast and lunch options. We did not eat in Normandy, as we were enjoying talking to our tablemates in the evening. I only heard rave reviews about the food.
Other: Everything in our cabin worked fine. We had some issues towards the end of a trip with a slow drain and blinking light. We left an attention to detail with the concierge desk on our last day. While it didn't bother us, the next guest may feel differently and he was appreciative we brought it to his attention. We also were double billed on the scotch tasting my husband attended. He went to customer relations to get it fixed. The next day while redeeming raffle tickets, he checked and it still wasn't corrected and he also explained to the person that he wasn't happy with the way the tasting was run. That night we received a bottle of wine in our cabin thanking us for our patience, etc. We felt we were treated well on the trip and did not experience any rude staff. Actually just the opposite, everyone said hello who we passed, from the housekeeper to the Captain of the ship. (And we did see him out and about a few times.) The cleaning and maintenance staff were constantly cleaning and touching up. All the public bathrooms were clean and in good shape (and I used them frequently.) Overall we really enjoyed our trip and would sail Celebrity again without any hesitation. We met some great people, some from CC, some not. We felt the ship was a good size and even though it sailed full (2300 passengers plus crew), it never felt crowded. We would even sail the Summit again. While there are some issues on the ship, nothing detracted from our experience (I know some others weren't so fortunate.)