I took the February 5th, 2011 sailing of the Celebrity Summit out of San Juan, Puerto Rico. With the exception of the Norway, I tend to book my cruises on the basis of itinerary first, then the cruise line, and it generally didn't matter which ship I actually booked on. This time, however, I booked on the basis of the ship.
I am something of a nostalgia buff, I like old ocean liners, I had actually sailed on the France back when I was a teenager, I knew that much of the public areas of the Summit owed much to the old French Line's Normandie, and that the Celebrity Summit actually carried art and artifacts from the old French Line's fabulous old ocean liner.
I almost missed my chance to come aboard. While I had booked my air travel from Austin, Texas to San Juan a couple of days early, the connecting Houston airport threatened to close early because of icy weather, and the internet travel reservation agency that made my reservations nearly lost them. But Continental Airlines came through, and I made my flights.
I booked two nights at the Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde beforehand. Although the hotel is right by the airport, it's a nice property, it's right on the beach, and has easy access to major highways if you want to drive elsewhere.
I arrived at the pier on Saturday the 5th around 1:15 PM; I'd spent the morning loafing, shopping, packing, and handing in my rental car. Although I did not have any actual tickets in hand, I did have a print-out copy of my contract in addition to my passport and credit cards, and so, I was able to board ship.
Check-in was fast and efficient. There was a wait to get checked in but relatively brief compared to other ones I'd endured with Carnival. I was able to get to my cabin around 2:00 PM.
I had cabin 7074. It was on the starboard side by the forward elevators, had a (locked) connecting door to the adjacent cabin, and was a little further forward than I like. It's a snug little cabin for two people, or one person and his scuba gear, which I brought with me.
The food was very good, I enjoyed the alternate restaurant (I dined in the Normandie twice). I thought very highly of Two to Tango and Fusion. The decor is pleasant and evokes the Art Deco of 1930's liners.
I was well taken care of by my cabin attendant. Viva Fernando!
I booked 3 excursions with Celebrity (2 before, 1 on ship). I booked
independently for dives at Grenada and Tobago, since Celebrity didn't offer any. I could enjoy the beach afterwards, too, even though I did run the risk of being left behind if I didn't arrive back at the pier on time. I was grateful that the Summit arrived in a port early enough for me to catch the morning dive boats out.
I also liked having a full sea day at the end of the itinerary. I enjoyed having a full day of loafing before having to deal with the hassles of customs, taxis, airports and finding my car in an airport parking lot.
I usually booked with that big major cruise line, since it got to where I wanted to go when I wanted to arrive there. This time, though, I was able to book a cruise on a line without the Vegas glitz and the party-hearty atmosphere, and X got me there when I wanted to be there! A great cruise for an adult with an adult mindset.