My husband and our two boys, celebrated my 50th birthday with a 7-day cruise to Bermuda in late August. Living in Manhattan, it was heaven to take a car service to Cape Liberty and not have to fly. Plus, I've always wanted to sail from New York and it is a unique experience. Due to Hurricane Irene we departed one day late, nonetheless, we had an outstanding experience and did not grieve the lost day. Well, not too much!
My dear friend/college roommate and his partner (as he says, he and I were the original Will and Grace!) flew in from L.A. and joined us on the ship. They ended up changing their flights three times, and after suffering through a most unfortunate car accident that I won't go into here, they made it to NYC and from the moment we boarded, we all put our cares and worries behind us and laughed, ate, sang and danced, like old friends should and let the beautiful Summit carry us away.
A Little Background: In 1985, I worked as an entertainer on a small, well-appointed ship called the Ocean Princess and fell in love with the sea at that time. Fast forward to a few years ago, our family tried out a 7-day Carnival ship out of San Juan. Although my children had a swell time, it was not for us. Too loud, too crowded, just, too much. We set cruising aside for a bit.
The Ship: The Summit feels, for lack of better way to express this--it feels like a ship, as opposed to an enormous floating block of a hotel. Of course, it is a hotel, but it has a grace and a size that is pleasing and manageable that I enjoyed immensely. It's not a party ship, there are not endless announcements and the smoking policy is extremely prohibitive. Though certainly not stuffy, this is an elegantly comfortable vacation choice, not come-as-you-are.
The Passengers: All ages were represented; a lot of Northeast families like us were enjoying the last bit of the summer break. With few exceptions, I found my fellow cruisers to be courteous, well-travelled pleasant types.
The Cabin: Being my 50th, we splurged and booked one of the two aft penthouses and are now absolutely ruined forever by the overly generous space and amenities. Being showfolk on holiday from the theatre, we loved having the piano in parlor, and used it daily. Considerately, of course. Smartly designed, the decor is pleasing and muted, with quality furnishings. It was very comfortable and worth every penny. No bike on the veranda, though, I was told that it would be there and alas, there was not. I missed that. Had a boisterous family of 5-6 above us in a FV cabin...could have done without that.
Kids' Program: My 9 year old could hardly ever be torn away from the kids' club; he made friends and especially enjoyed the slumber parties. My older son, simply found friends on his own and off they went. Both boys have stayed in touch with their new friends. I was impressed with the quality of the youth staff. Celebrity very smartly addresses the needs of different age groups with adult only as well as some children only areas.
The Food: I am not a buffet fan; I prefer to sit down and take my time in the dining room and all of our experiences were very good to excellent. The Normandy was wonderful, and the main dining room boasted choices to please all.
The Service: Outstanding. Superb. Celebrity excels at this and there was not one disappointing experience the entire cruise. The staff, crew, and entertainers are well-trained and we had some interesting conversations with several. Our butler Jonathan was excellent, always helpful, never intrusive.
The Spa and Gym: we all had excellent massages; hot stone, deep tissue and bamboo. Located at the bow, gym was spacious and well equipped and was clean and bright with a gorgeous view.
The Entertainment: Lots of live music! Opportunities to listen to various ensembles and soloists, instrumental and vocal on board every day and evening. We enjoyed them immensely.
Bermuda: Wonderful place, DH has been many times, but it was my first experience. We enjoyed having two and half days so that we didn't feel rushed. Would still love to come back, so....
Would We Do It Again?: You can count on it. We've just booked a couple of cabins on the Summit for next summer. Can't wait to see the refurbishment!