Our cruise was the last on the Summit before she went into drydock so I know there will be many changes ahead, but we enjoyed the ship and the ports a lot.
We flew into San Juan early because we did not want to take any chances with winter weather. Stayed at the Sheraton Old San Juan and spent the day touring Old San Juan. It was nice to have a full day in San Juan before the cruise. We walked the streets and went to both the forts. Lunch was in a cafe in Old San Juan frequented by lots of locals. The Sheraton was a great location for a pre-cruise hotel. There is a CVS right by the hotel where you can pick up anything you forgot for the trip.
Embarkation was smooth. The Sheraton let us keep the room till noon and then we took a taxi over to the cruise ship. There were few people in line to check in so we were on the ship quickly and went to use a lounge chair by the pool till the rooms were ready. The rooms were ready at 1 p.m. We had lunch at the AquaSpa Cafe which was a great place for a nice light healthy lunch. They would make Salmon for you on the grill and it was the best.
Our room was ok. My husband thought it was bigger than other rooms we have had on ships, but they all seem crowded to me. Wall mirrors on one wall which is always a bit freaky. The balcony had room for two chairs and a table. Bathroom small, but they usually are on cruise ships. Having two bathrobes in the room was nice. No pool towels in the room was a bit weird. The only place to get them was by the pool - even on port days when you wanted to go to the beach. You had to go to Deck 10 to get towels then down to Deck 1 to disembark. Strange.
The food was very good on the Summit. We ate in the Cosmopolitan each night (the main dining room). Our waiter and assistant were good - especially the assistant. The Creme Brulee was to die for. French Onion Soup way too salty and the steak was always overcooked. Lobster was half a lobster. No offers of more. The kids really enjoyed the breakfast in the buffet with waffles. Great whipped cream. I liked the Eggs Benedict there. They also offered a full English breakfast for those who like blood sausage. :) In the afternoon they had tea sandwiches, scones and squares or cookies from 4-5 in the buffet which was nice. Loved the hot milk in the morning with my coffee. (You get the hot milk in the buffet line.) Great free pastries in the Cova Cafe on Deck 4 - or was it Deck 5? The fruit tarts and lemon tarts in the buffet and the Cova Cafe were wonderful. Hamburgers, fries and hot dogs always available by the pool during the day too.
The thalassotherapy pool was great. Relaxing and warmer than the outside pools. The jets on your shoulders felt like a great massage. Went to the gym a couple of times and it was always crowded - not sure why. The walking track was nice in the morning.
My son went to the kids club a few times. Sometimes no one showed up, so I think most kids spent more time with their families. Also this is a very port intensive cruise with only one sea day, so that may have affected things.
The shows were good at night. There is also the option of a movie theatre showing movies which recently came out on DVD. Loved the comedian. He was just so funny and was clean which was nice for a family cruise. The magician was ok. I liked the music/dancing/acrobats but my family were less enthused. The acrobats - from France - were wonderful and amazing all agreed.
I didn't like the ships shopping area much. Usually I find something on the ship but this time the shops just felt weird to me. The big push on ship were yellow emeralds from Brazil - the next big thing according to the sales staff. We'll see. Don't know how great the deals were. We bought two t-shirts and that was it.
I always enjoy the library and this one looks attractive but has the weirdest books you have ever heard of. It is also right in the middle of the ship, so not a nice place to sit and read and watch the waves. A small rack had exchange books. Library was always open and unlocked.
Barbados - We took a taxi to Accra Beach. Just the right amount of waves. Lots of opportunity to buy food there too. Beach chairs and umbrellas for rent. Our taxi driver dropped us off and came back promptly at 3 p.m. when we asked him to.
Grenada - Took a water taxi to Grand Anse beach. Food, beach chairs all available. Snorkeling was pretty minimal. Lots of vendors in the craft area. Good deals on spices.
Dominica - Took a tour with Nature Isle Explorer and it was great. Went to snorkel at Champagne Reef, through TiTou Gorge from Pirates of the Caribbean and then to Screw Spa which is a natural sulfur spa. We docked at the commercial port which was weird but I don't think the port is very developed here.
St. Kitts - Went to Brimstone Hill Fortress which was fantastic. We only wanted to go to the fortress but our taxi driver took us some other places too. Saw where Thomas Jefferson's great-grandfather was buried. I liked the town here. Walking from the ship is easy to the shopping area beyond the port. This had more of a British look about it than Barbados did - just the architecture of the town and the square etc.
St. Croix - Just walked to the beach from the ship, swam, snorkeled - looked for seahorses which are supposed to be there but did not find them - and back to the ship. The ship docks in a small town and to get to the bigger one is a taxi or shuttle at about $17 a person.
On our return to San Juan we did not get off the ship till 10:30 but they kick you out of the room at 8 and quit serving breakfast at 8:30. Why not at least keep serving breakfast till later or let you stay in the room later? We went to the games room. Pastries were available at the CovaCafe till about 9:30. You had to pay for the gourmet coffee though.
Stayed at the Embassy Suites after the cruise. The hotel was full of college kids there for winter swim training so it had a bit of a spring break feel to it. Especially at breakfast with a 45 minute wait in line for food. The hotel is a 5 minute walk to a nice beach. The hotel provides towels, umbrellas and chairs at the beach for free. Great pool at the hotel. Liked Mi Casita restaurant near hotel for Puerto Rican food.
I would go on the Summit again on this itinerary and really enjoyed San Juan. The ship was in need of some TLC, but to be honest, so were both the hotels we stayed at and I don't think they are going in for drydock. The only thing I really did not like was our blanket on the ship was very worn looking, which should have been changed before it got to that point.