We were really excited to take this cruise as we had to cancel our last two cruises because I was ill. We had not cruised since March 2010 on Mercury. We booked this cruise using our Discover Cash Back Bonus and getting a $200 certificate in exchange for $100 cash back. Because of this we had to use a specific Travel Agency to have the bonus applied. We had been waiting for prices to come down and when we saw a Guaranteed Inside for $999 we jumped on it using our certificate.
We sailed out of Cape Liberty Cruise Port, Bayonne, NJ. This is the 4th time we have sailed out of Bayonne. It's only 58 miles from our home so while the port itself is not that great, it's very convenient for us since we can drive. Parking is $19 a day and believe it or not, that's not bad for this area. We arrived at the port at 11:58 AM, dropped off our luggage, parked the car and walked into the terminal.
Unfortunately, embarkation this time was terrible. It took us just over an hour from when we walked into the terminal to get onto the ship. We waited in line for about 45 minutes to just check in and then we had to take the shuttle to the ship. But all is forgiven (usually) when you are on the ship and they hand you that glass of champagne.
We had an inside stateroom category 10 on deck 3. This is the first time we have been on deck 3 and were a bit nervous. Come to find out I think I like being down on deck 3, better than 7 (where we usually are). The room was the typical 170 square foot Celebrity inside cabin with plenty of storage and closet space. Our stateroom attendant was good and he and his assistant did their jobs, although this is the first cruise we've ever taken that there had been days where our rooms were not completely done until 2:00 PM. I'm not sure if this is new to Celebrity or if it was a shortage of help, but we were surprised to come back from being off the ship that our room still hadn't been done and it was almost 2:00 PM.
Also there were only 5 kids on this sailing. I only saw 3 of them, so don't know where the other 2 were hiding.
Entertainment was good, nothing spectacular. There we some performers better than others. There were 3 production shows: iHollywood, which is music from Hollywood movies; Stars in Their Eyes -â€“ a tribute to legendary stars and their music; and the last Sirens -â€“ some kind of burlesque fantasy with pirates and mermaids that we just didn't get, we actually left after about 25 minutes or so. I don't know if it was because we were tired or what, but we did not think it was that good.
Singer, Jordan Bennett, who has been on Broadway, television and other musical theater, performed a really good show. They had a concert pianist, Brooks Aehron who did 3 shows, one was an afternoon matinee. They had 2 comedians, Al Ducharme and Louis Johnson. The second was a bit funnier than the first. They had a female vocal impressionist, Karen Grainger who was good but I really was hoping she would have been better.
They had a juggler, Barry John, who believe it or not was really good. Talented and funny.
They had their standard acapella group, Western Union, who appeared around the ship as well as in the theater during the Variety Shows
We did not see any of the other entertainment around the ship so I cannot comment on those performers.
They had two speakers for their enrichment series. Bob Loudon talked about the Golden Radio Days. We went to his first talk on the first sea day and that was it. The second speaker was Dr. Denny Whitford, professor and retired US Navy Captain. He had a few good presentations.
The crew and staff on this Summit sailing were very good to excellent. We had a wonderful waiter, Michael and assistant waiter Jonie in the Cosmopolitan Dining Room. The food on the other hand was hit or miss. Between there not being anything on the menu that appealed to us to getting entrees that had to be sent back. This does not mean all the food was bad, we did home some delicious meals but overall I would have to give the food overall a B- or even C. The lunch buffet after the 4th day I was tired of eating it. The dining room lunch menu wasn't much better. The dining room is only open on sea days, except for one where they had brunch, which we did not attend because we do not like brunch.
We dined once in the Specialty Restaurant, Normandie, and it was delicious with terrific service. The chocolate souffle is to die for.
We did not do any ship's excursions and did things on our own.
Debarkation was not too bad. We were told we were going to get off at 8:15 AM but there was a slight delay in us arriving and we got off at 8:55 AM. We were at our car at 9:33 AM and then we were home at 10:45 AM.
Summit is looking a bit worn in some areas, especially the carpeting. Good thing she is going to be refurbished in January 2012.
We love Celebrity, their service is still terrific, they just need to make the quality of their food consistently good and not hit and miss.