Over the past thirty years, we have stayed on and explored over a dozen islands in the Caribbean. This year we chose to take our first cruise and selected a week long cruise leaving from San Juan with two other couples. Fearing seasickness, we chose a cabin in the middle of the ship on Deck 6. Happily, we never felt seasick. With the Summit's January remodel, we found our cabin to be beautifully redecorated and the new bed was very comfortable.
The trip began with an at sea day which we used to enjoy the extensive, beautiful, and delicious Sunday brunch in the main dining room and to explore the ship. The pool area was very very crowded and had loud music and announcements blaring on the speakers, but we found that on subsequent days when we were in port, it was quiet and finding a lounge chair was not a problem.
We usually checked out the breakfast and lunch offerings in the healthy Aqua Spa Cafe on Deck 10 and supplemented them with other food from the Waterfall Cafe on the same deck. We always found plenty of delicious items - except in the area of breakfast pastries and desserts - their breakfast pastries were usually dry and flavorless and their desserts looked beautiful but were lacking flavor.
Our friends who drink coffee preferred paying extra for the coffee in Bacio on Deck 5. We assumed that the morning pastries and evening desserts in Bacio's pastry case cost extra, too. But I just read a Cruise Critic review which stated that there is no additional charge for these pastries. Our friends were never offered a pastry from these cases - I guess you have to ask.
The Gellateria on Deck 5 costs $3 for two scoops of gelato. Small spoons of gelato to taste are complimentary.
Before dinner, we often met in the Crush Martini Bar on Deck 4 where the bartenders stack up martini glasses and pour six or more martinis at once! This is great fun to watch. Martinis are $10 each. The other bar we enjoyed was the Cellar Masters Wine Bar. You read the labels on the different wine bottles, grab a wine glass, swipe your sea pass card to pay for the wine, and press a button for a small, medium, or large pour. Or you can order a wine flight from a server. The appetizers we ordered in Cellar Masters for an additional charge were very good.
We chose the early dinner seating (6 PM). After exploring a port, it was hard to get ready in time for a 5:30 drink and 6:00 dinner. So we began arriving for dinner at 6:30 and that worked out better for us. A Cruise Critic reviewer had said that as long as you are done dining at 8, it doesn't matter if you are a bit late. We enjoyed about 80% of the food in the Main Dining Room.
One night we ate at Qsine - it was excellent! The food was much more creative and delicious than we usually had in the MDR and it was worth the $40 per person additional charge.
Regarding the ports, we took a cab in Barbados to Folkestone Beach to swim and snorkel - it was fine for snorkeling, but the beach is very small. We booked our independent tours of St. Lucia and Antigua online after reading about tours on Trip Advisor. St. Lucia was lush and beautiful - Antigua was more arid and if we wanted to save money or so something that did not take the whole day, we could have skipped the Antigua tour. On St. Martin, after sleeping in and relaxing on lounge chairs by the pool, we left the ship around 2 PM and took a half hour cab ride to the French town of Marigot - cab ride was $7 per person each way. We shopped for a while and ate a dessert at a patisserie - but we found that the town was larger and not as charming as it had been when we stayed on Martin about twenty years ago. On St. Thomas we took a $9 per person cab ride to Coki Beach (they have bathrooms and lunch available) where we snorkeled and relaxed on the beach. Lounge chairs rent for $5 each and the vendor put up a beach umbrella for free (even though they charge $10 to rent them). In the middle of the fairly large beach a man walks around offering smoothie samples. They are so good - we bought a delicious mango smoothie from him. The snorkeling at Coki is fine and even though snorkeling on St. John is generally better, we did not feel like dealing with the ferry to St. John and subsequent taxi to a beach.
In summary, we enjoyed sunny, warm days exploring five different Caribbean islands, fine dining, and relaxing with friends on this beautiful ship.