Though I have never reviewed a cruise in my life, I figured after disembarking from our third cruise a month ago, I had better get started before I forget the details.
I don't enter into reviews lightly so you can be sure that I will be as honest as possible in my opinions so that perhaps your experience will be a better one.
Here we go.
Sailing date: 5-29-11
Ship: Celebrity Summit
Embarkation: Port Liberty, Bayonne, NJ
Cruise Itinerary: 7 Nights, Bermuda
2 days at sea, 3 nights docked,
Getting to your destination for embarkation is always a challenge. Typically if I can be driven to point A without the hassle and expense of flying, I will opt for that everytime. This trip was no different. I had been saving for a while for this and since it was a delayed anniversary trip for us, I thought I would hire a town car for the trip down and back. It costs roughly 275.00 one way for the trip.
Is it worth it, to me, yes. Everyone will have different opinions on this issue but everyone's circumstances are different. We have two 10 plus year old vehicles and neither of which I would want to depend on to fight NYC traffic coming from central CT where we live.
The boat leaves when it leaves and you have to be there on time. End of Topic.
What would make it easier would be to find someone here on cruise critic in the same general area who was on the same cruise and share the costs down and back on our next cruise 9-4-11. So we are talking central CT area to Bayonne and back, perhaps we can find that.
So we were picked up and dropped off at the ship at around 12:30pm on Sunday, May 29th. Had a small bottle of champagne in the limo on the way down and listened to 70's rock and roll. Now that's what I call chillin before the sail.
Immediately upon exiting the car, a young man was on us in a flash to grab our luggage and place it on the cart. Of course he was looking for a tip and he, not having change (of course not), I probably gave him more than it was worth so remember to have change when you arrive.
This trip was our first balcony room and Concierge Class (C2) so we had some extra privileges for early boarding and disembarkation. We moved fairly quickly through the boarding process and before we knew it, they were handing us a glass of champagne and we were off to our room.
I never expected it to be so quick. We actually felt like we had an extra day on board because of the early arrival. Not really sure how early you could arrive and get on board but we may try on our upcoming trip
The Summit is a smaller ship in comparison to the other two ships that we have sailed over the last 15 years, the Sovereign of the Seas, and the Enchantment of the seas. Both RC lines. Personally I like a smaller ship. No matter how much you slice it though the mass and size of all of the cruise ships is a wonder. I marvel every time at the mechanics of running these monsters.
We signed up for the 6pm seating for dinner and shortly after we left the pier it was time to get ready to go. The first night was a casual night. Now though I can't remember the menu, rest assured all of the food on this ship is great. I learned on our first cruise however that you could easily gain 10 pounds in a week if you are not careful, and on our first cruise, I DID.
This time however I actually lost a couple of pounds. One of the tricks of that is by taking advantage of the healthy menu at the aqua spa grill in the over 18 spa area. As far as I'm concerned, it's the only place to eat breakfast. Never a line and the food is healthy.
Of course there are the special buffet nights and little snack bars but it's just about control and saying no. So much for my lecture on diet.
We debated heavily over the drink packages and opted not to sign up for them. We are glad we did. The day before departure I learned that you are allowed to bring on board 2 750 ML bottles of wine to keep in your room. We did that and enjoyed a glass of red wine in the evening, it was great. I brought a glass to our dinner table each night to avoid getting charged. Didn't think you could do that but I learned its ok. We are not big drinkers so the occasional mixed drink would not have paid for the packages over the week.
We do feel thought that the small amount of money that you pay for the upgrade to balcony Concierge Class is worth it.
The room we had on the Summit was 9056. I read on the web somewhere, perhaps here, that there were noises from the pool area above and to some extent that was true but I am an early riser and my wife sleeps more soundly than I so it didn't bother us.
The room was wonderful. I read about the things people complain about in bad reviews of ships but I'll tell you what, is it any worse than what they run into at home? Think about that.
I did read that in CC class there were flat screen TV's. Not in our room. We had a regular old box TV. We were not there to watch TV so no big deal. The Concierge Class also offers appetizers in your room in the afternoon, which in my opinion is not big deal. Just a half dozen or so tiny bread crackers with different toppings. Nothing to write home about. There is always a basket of fruit in the room. The Bottle of Champagne in the room upon arrival is very nice in CC class.
The bed was comfortable. The shower area and bathroom were large enough for getting ready. I still am not brave enough to venture into the bathroom however to share it when my wife is getting ready in there. I think that is just a personal safety issue. LOL! Its not a two person bathroom.
Please remember that there is a hairdryer in CC class. We found the hairdryer on the last day. It was kind of hidden in the cabinet below the sink. The one on the wall my wife said was way to hot and it was burning her hair. Good info for you ladies, but remember you cannot bring your dryer from home. They say its a safety issue and will take it from you if they find it. You can pick it up on the way out though. But who needs that hassle on the way home.
Don't bring extension cords. I brought one for my CPAP machine and the confiscated it saying it was a safety issue on board.
We had some difficulty with the safe in the room however I do believe that was my fault.
No unreasonable noises from other rooms adjacent to us. I personally think that you run into this more on other lines rather than celebrity. I hope this trend continues on our next cruise on the summit coming up
The Summit has many areas to explore. I kind of get lost with my camera in the evening and wander around the ship looking for unusual shots with all the unique lighting. I need to post those !!!!!
We did go to the aqua massage area one afternoon and partake in the specials they had for facial and massage. I think that I should have done that on the first day to chill out. Perhaps this next time I will. A bit more expensive than we had planned on for a massage but I do feel it helps you come down from the stress levels when you start your vacation.
I have to be honest regarding the over 18 pool and spa area.
One morning i went to enjoy the spa pool very early and i saw some unidentifyable foam on the surface, kind of a greyish color. I refused to get in and have that attach itself to my body. Sorry Celebrity, you need to get rid of that issue. I owned a hot tub for years and know that its an issue and with the many people using this facility, it should be monitored closer. I believe that the main public pool area and hot tubs are probably cleaner. This is something you will have to judge for yourselves.
We took a galley (kitchen) tour, which was interesting.
We also did some snorkeling on our first day in port however the water was very cold and I ended up with a respiratory thing the rest of the trip. It wasn't bed ridden ill but just annoying ill respiratory thing. Hey, a bad day at sea is still better than a good day at work. Right?
So if you are going snorkeling and the water temps are 72 or less, prepare yourself for some cold water or wear a wetsuit. At least in May.
The second day we took the famous beaches tour. It was ok but not long enough on the beach. They take you to a private secluded beach and there are only a dozen or so umbrellas, chairs and snacks all waiting for you.
Kind of nice but like I mentioned for the price, not long enough. This was a tour booked through the ship.
The Third day we took the ferry to Hamilton and explored the city a bit. We really messed up on a bus and the driver never told us when our stop came up so we blew two hours and never got back to Hamilton. We are doing it right next time, with a private Cab.
Ok, moving on. This review is about the ship.
We did not take advantage of the private restaurants. The Normandie seems very special however we paid for excellent service and great food in the main dining area and stuck with that for the entire trip. Take the galley tour as I mentioned above, Only an hour or so and you get to see the kitchens and prep area and the take you through the Normadie restaurant as a promo at the end of the tour.
The shows on board, Well, we did attend one show after dinner one evening and I must say that as compared to other shows we have seen on other cruises, it was just ok. It was shorter in length than I expected and to get really good seat, you have to sit there for 30 to 45 minutes prior to the show starting. So you are now talking about 3 hours of an evening, gone. Kind of a waste of an evening I felt. But that also is a personal choice.
On the second night of our cruise, on formal night, my wife got terribly seasick as we were now further out at sea (400 miles) and the dining room is aft as far as you can go. The Summit was rocking and the evening was kind of shot after that. Many people were feeling the same. My wife never made it through the appetizers and had to get back to the room.
A very kind soul in our hallway donated one of her patches to us and my wife was fine after that. So with that in mind bring a patch with you that your doctor prescribes. Or maybe a couple of them. My wife's patch fell off during a full body massage but at that point she was ok. The docs on board cannot issue the patch because it is a script. I never saw the doc for my medical issue because my insurance probably was not going to cover it.
I have to say that the service on board this ship is just excellent. The gentleman who was tending to our room was there whenever you needed him for anything.
I brought our cell phones but decided that if there is an emergency people know how to reach us. Never used them @ 7 dollars a minute or whatever the outrageous charge was. Brought our netbook just as a dumping ground for photos. I did not want to pay the outrageous minute prices either for checking email in the apple computer center. Kind of nice to get away from all that for a week.
Try to attend some of the small gatherings while at sea. The events in the daily publication are described. As an example, we went to the xbox kinnect demo in one of the lounges to hang out and had great fun.
The casino is great, it never seemed to be crowded when I went and it was just a great place to hang with a cup of coffee and watch your coins disappear LOL
I don't do sun intentionally but there are plenty of opportunities and spaces to enjoy it if that is your thing.
Each person is different obviously and enjoys different venues when on a cruise. There is so much to do even while at sea that you just have to pick your fun. And that is what cruising is all about, having fun. This next cruise I will make a personal effort to disconnect from the real world earlier on in the trip than I did before. Try to do this yourself. For some its easy, for me its not so easy.
It usually takes me about three days to realize I'm on vacation. Maybe I can get that down to the day of departure on this next trip.
That's why getting there as early as possible on departure day is good. That several hours before the ship leaves is kind of the breakdown time to adjust your mind.
I hope that some of the information that I posted will be helpful to some of you out there. Perhaps not to you veteran cruisers but perhaps to you who are going to be taking your first cruise. We are still learning about cruising and this will be our fourth.
Thanks again for taking the time to read my thoughts.
Have a great trip !!!!!!!! , Wavewriter