We booked the Summit about six weeks prior to sailing when this cruise came up on the “Exciting deals” e-mail. I sent a note out to friends we have cruised with or met on cruises and to our delight one couple joined us. Port Liberty ... Read More
We booked the Summit about six weeks prior to sailing when this cruise came up on the “Exciting deals” e-mail. I sent a note out to friends we have cruised with or met on cruises and to our delight one couple joined us. Port Liberty cruise port is about a two hour drive from our home so we had no need for flights, although our friends flew up from Florida for the cruise.
We left our home early Sunday morning and met our friends at the Newark Airport Hampton Inn. We enjoyed meeting up with them and they called an Uber while we drove to the port. Luggage drop off was a pleasure. I then went to park the car only to find the ‘new’ parking garage was closed and was directed to park on the surface lot about as far from the terminal as one could get. I walked back with my small carry-on and met my wife to go through security. Getting through security was the longest single wait (10 minutes?) then we were quickly checked in, key cards received, photos taken, and we were told we could board the ship. This was a pleasant surprise as it was only about 11:10 AM.
Upon boarding the ship we met the cruise director who we asked where we should go to straighten out dining arrangements. He directed us to the dining room entrance where we met the maître-de Patrick and he made arrangements to have us all dine together at the same table in select dining every night of the cruise at 5:45. Due to dietary needs, we need to have a steady wait staff and preorder for the following night, so this is important to us.
We met our friends in the Lido and enjoyed lunch. The roast beef was quite good. The fish served was just okay. The Lido got quite crowded as most folks headed there. We had noticed the dining room was open for lunch but only for Concierge guests. After chatting I walked down to see if the T-Pool was open and I found it was. We all moved down to the T-pool area and the men changed into swimwear and enjoyed the pool and hot tubs. Cabins were available at about 1:30; we didn’t hear the announcement but saw most of the people with luggage leave. About 2:00 we followed and found our cabin, #3037, an inside on deck 3. We have stayed in these cabins before and they are functional with a nice bathroom area and shower.
We met our room steward Arnold and he reminded us of the 3:15 muster drill. Two of our three bags were waiting for us, the missing one showed up during dinner (no worries as that one only held snorkeling gear). We were able to unpack and store our clothing and I took a shower and was evening ready before the muster drill. The drill for us was in the main showroom. They were filling the room from the front back and I appreciated that when the drill was complete they dismissed from the front back. We went back to our cabin just one deck down from the theater.
For sail-away we wanted to listen to the acoustic duo at the aft bar, but there is very little seating in that area (seems like tables and chairs are missing?). We ended up sitting in the aft lido and I went outside to take photos several times as we sailed away and under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Next we went down to listen to the strings duo in Cellar Masters until dinner. We went to dinner a little early in order to talk to our waiter, Putra, and his assistant Onsa about our special needs. They were most accommodating. Our friends joined us and we had a delightful time together. The recommended Prime Rib was excellent. DW’s salmon was very good and everyone seemed to enjoy the meal.
After dinner we listened to the “Dancing town” in the Rendezvous lounge and actually danced once. We wanted to sample the solo guitarist in the grand foyer but his set was done by the time we arrived, so we moved on to the showroom for comedian A. J. Jamal. We very much enjoyed his comedy. By the time the show was over it was nearly 10:00 and time to call it a very full first day.
Monday, May 28 (Memorial Day) at Sea
We slept very well and managed to make it to the dining room at 8:40. While waiting one of our friends came out and saw us. He said they had room at their table so we were able to join them. Breakfast was good. After breakfast we all split up. The ladies went to the galley tour, my friend went to the Bermuda talk, and I went to a computer class. All worked out well except the computer class as the instructor never showed. I went to the front desk who called to computer lab and they asked me to go to the lab. I did so, and after the apologies about a schedule change that didn’t make it into the program, for my trouble they comped me an unlimited internet package.
At 11:30 the Summit held a Memorial Day service in the main foyer. This was very nice with all the officers participating. We were also told that we had increased speed and would arrive to Bermuda early due to a medical emergency. We enjoyed lunch in the dining room. We split up again after lunch with the ladies perusing the shops and I ended up at the T-pool. With the movement of the ship the T-pool was fantastic and I stayed there quite a while. We got ready for the “Chic” evening and before dinner visited the Elite lounge and enjoyed a couple of drinks.
We met our friends at dinner at had a wonderful time together. Food so far has been very good. We had a photo of our group of six taken with the captain at the “Chic officer’s soiree’.” We then attended show time, “Life” by the singers and dancers. I will say the show was enjoyable although after a busy sea day it was hard to stay awake. We then called it a night.
Tuesday, May 29, 2018 – at sea and Bermuda arrival.
With a time change last night we woke up too late for the dining room breakfast so the lido would need to suffice. The station at the very aft was not busy and we quickly had made to order omelets, waffles, and a nice fruit selection for breakfast. Next we used the T-pool and had a great time there. I got cleaned up just in time for a future cruise presentation on the Galapagos. This inexpensive trip suddenly became very costly as I was sold. This has also been on the bucket list for our friends so after a nice dining room lunch we went to visit the future cruise office and ended up booking the Celebrity Expedition 10 day Quito and Galapagos package for Thanksgiving, 2019.
Although there were numerous activities available the afternoon passed in a bit of a fog. I took a short nap, got ready for dinner, and enjoyed the Elite lounge for a while as we watched the Anthem of the Seas and then the Norwegian Dawn sail away to make room for Summit at the dock. After dinner we went to do a walk around but found it was raining quite hard so we turned around. Fifteen minutes later it was dry so we left the ship and walked around the dockyards. Just before it became too dark to see, we noticed a large black cloud approaching so we headed back to Summit. We were not quite fast enough, however, and got totally drenched as the skies opened into a monsoon like rain very suddenly. Trying to find a place in the cabin to hang all the wet clothes was a challenge, and as it was quite late we missed the 9:00 show and ended up calling it a night.
Wednesday, May 30, 2018 – Bermuda
We were up early to get ready for our first day in Bermuda! We enjoyed a dining room breakfast where we met a young honeymooning couple who were married on Saturday. We met our friends for our 9:00 meeting to head to the ferry for the 9:30 to Hamilton. The 9:30 ended up being more like 9:45 and while waiting it was raining. During the ride to Hamilton the skies really opened up into a downpour. Fortunately, after arriving in never rained that hard again.
We toured around Hamilton especially enjoying Queen Elizabeth Park and the postmaster museum. The cathedral was enjoyable to walk around and see the stained glass and well maintained stonework as well. We also visited Queen Victoria Park and then got on bus #7 with the intention of seeing the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse. We told the bus driver we had six to visit the lighthouse and he said okay he would let us know when to get off. Well, he forgot. Several stops after the lighthouse he dropped us off to catch a return bus that would be along in ‘5 minutes.’ When the next bus heading back toward the dockyard came four of us took that bus to get back to the ship.
The locals on the bus were very friendly and half of our group got off at the clocktower mall to do some shopping but we stayed on until the last stop and walked back to the ship for lunch. We enjoyed lunch from the buffet grille (all the way aft) and then dropped our bag in the room. I went to the T-pool, where I had it to myself for a while, and DW went shopping.
While I was in the pool the sun actually came out so hopefully it will be a nice evening for the harbor night’s festival in Hamilton. We arrived at the dining room at 5:15 so we could catch the 6:45 ferry. Putra was most accommodating and we left the dining room at 6:15, skipping dessert. Just after we returned to our cabin we found out that due to the weather the mayor of Hamilton canceled tonight’s event. It was time for plan B.
We went to the 7:00 show of “Chandelier” by the Summit’s cast. This was a really good show with a nice storyline and some excellent musical numbers. After the show we tried to find seats in the Rendezvous lounge but it was packed. We went to Café El’ Bacio for the first time this cruise for dessert and we enjoyed them. A Bermudian ambassador was on board and we visited with him a little. We always like it when ships bring local life on board. After this, thanks to Facebook, we had learned that ‘old friends’ we had not seen in 24 years were on the Norwegian Escape. We made plans to meet outside at 9:15 and visited with them until 10:50. They said they have a hard time finding friends to cruise with. Who knows, we may do a cruise with them at some point!
Back to the cabin and we called it a very late night.
Thursday, May 31, 2018 – Bermuda day 2
We were up and ready in time for a dining room breakfast at a table for two and met our friends at 9:00. We went out to the waiting St. George 9:30 ferry and had an enjoyable sail over to St. George on the outside deck. Upon arrival we took our time and enjoyed the town, stopping in a few shops, appreciating the nice clean restrooms, and we toured St. Peter’s church. St. Peter’s was a nice surprise. It was very well kept and very historic. Bermuda and St. Peter’s was the first place Queen Elizabeth visited 5 months after her coronation and photos of that visit were on display.
The four of us got in a cab for the $7.35 cab ride over to Tobacco Bay. This is such a very nice place to swim or snorkel. While the beach was rather crowded this is still a great spot. I enjoyed snorkeling for quite some time and took a bunch of photos. When talking with my DW all of a sudden I couldn’t get the camera to turn back on.
My “Waterproof” camera apparently bit the dust after about five years of service. Sure enough, after letting the camera dry out a while in the sun I opened the battery/memory card compartment and drops of moisture are inside.
We had a little lunch at the on-site concession and enjoyed sitting at a table in the shade of a large umbrella. We went back in the wonderful water for the best part of an hour before coming out to dry off and catch a taxi back to the ferry boarding area in St. Georges. As we had enough time, we visited the local grocery and bought a couple of bottles of cold water and a chocolate bar. The ladies did some shopping while waiting for the ferry. Soon enough the ferry arrived and we had a nice ride back to the dockyards in the cool main deck.
Back on the Summit we took quick showers to get ready for dinner. Dinner was again very enjoyable this evening and our wait staff is terrific. Following dinner we listened to a few tunes in the Rendezvous lounge and then attended the travel trivia and champagne event hosted by the future cruise team. We knew all the places in the photos and had the maximum amount of possible entries into a prize drawing, but no one in our group won one of the three prizes. Still, this was a fun event. We attended the 9:00 show, “Vocal flash.” They are very talented but this wasn’t really our kind of music. After the show we called it a night.
Friday, June 01, 2018 Bermuda, day three
We enjoyed breakfast at the aft of the Oceanview café and left to meet our arranged outing on “Hartley’s Helmet Dive.” This ended up being a terrific outing with about a 40 minute trip out to the site and then Greg Hartley took folks down in groups of six (three groups of six) with each group getting about 45-50 minutes on the bottom (well over the advertised amount of time). DW and I very much enjoyed this and it became the highlight of our time in Bermuda. Greg arranges to take photos and a short video of each party who wants them at a reasonable cost. This was very important to us as my underwater camera died the prior day!
We returned to the dock, just minutes’ walk from the ship, at about 1:45. We returned to the Summit and quickly dropped off our things in the cabin and went for lunch again at the far aft lido grill. I think this is the best area of the Oceanview Café as your food is cooked to order. The Paninis are also made fresh to order, so you can’t go wrong here!
We met up with our friends and visited a while sharing the day’s adventures while enjoying an ice cream. DW returned to the cabin to rest up before our “Chic” evening tonight while I enjoyed the indoor pool a while. I was told that two folks missed the ship as they were seen running for the ship after we had begun to pull away. Funny thing is we later learned they were actually on the NCL ship so they were REALLY late as the Escape had left about an hour earlier!
After cleaning up for dinner we all enjoyed dinner. Lobster was on the menu tonight as well as Beef Wellington and other upscale entrees. Putra took superb care of us with double Lobster tails. After dinner we attended the senior officer’s cocktail party where I was able to have the captain autograph our group photo with him. The party was a very nice event. Afterwards, we headed over to the theater for the singers and dancers performing “Soundtrack.” This is their last show as a group as their contract is up and they leave when we leave the Summit Sunday morning. The show was very enjoyable. As much as we would have loved to participate in some of the later entertainment, a very busy day with lots of fresh Bermudian air and happy fish made us very tired so we called it a night.
Saturday, June 2, At sea returning towards Cape Liberty
This was a very busy sea day. We went to the elite breakfast for the first (and last) time this cruise. That is a very nice quiet area in the Murano restaurant and is certainly a nice, lighter, alternative for a sea day like today. This was followed by a walk around looking for our friends. While we didn’t find them immediately we did catch up with them and the ladies went shopping all the ‘clearance sales’ while the men attended Captain Yannis’ presentation on “Secrets of ship’s navigation.” He was very through and spent a lot of time taking questions. We left there to meet up with the ladies for a dining room lunch. Lunch was very enjoyable and relaxing.
After lunch, we did a walk about of areas of the ship we had not previously seen, including the rooftop terrace on deck 12. The outdoor movies are shown here and if you got there early enough there is some shade, but most seats are out in the open. There are also quiet shaded areas on the sides of the ship. It was a beautiful afternoon and we took a number of photos up there!
We found a vacant table near the pool grille and had a nice time chatting and visiting. We saw Putra working the pool grille and he posed for a photo. We tried to listen to some music there by the pool but sitting off that far to the side the sound was not pleasant. Soon enough it was time to get ready for dinner and we enjoyed one last visit to the Elite cocktail hour. It is certainly nice to have a degree of status on two cruise lines so we have options when looking for our next vacation(s)!
Dinner was again very good with Turkey on the menu. I asked for a double order of all white meat and again Putra came through. So good. After dinner we found a table by Café El Bacio to share our photos with each other. We attended the final show, comedian Gina Brillon “All the way from New York.” Gina was enjoyable but not as good as A. J. Jamal on day one. After dinner we visited with our friends for a few minutes and arranged to meet for our final breakfast Sunday morning.
Sunday, June 03, 2018 – Disembarkation
We ended up waking up before the alarm. Turning on the bridge cam, I saw that we were approaching the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. I threw on some clothes and heading up top with the camera. Nearly no one else was up there and I was able to take some nice photos and video, including of one of the “Op sail” ships sailing away from New York.
We met our friends for our 7:45 dining room breakfast as we had luggage tag #27 (late) for disembarkation. We were the second to last party in the dining room and left there about 8:50. We stayed in Cellar Masters on the comfortable chairs while listening to the numbers being called. We joined the disembarkation line at 9:30 and it was 10:15 by the time we snaked through the line at customs. Although we have “Global entry” which saves us oodles of time returning by air, this did not help at cape liberty. One last hug and handshake with our friends (who we will see again at Thanksgiving on Princess) and we paid our parking fee and loaded the luggage into the car.
With two stops on the way home, including one for a nice relaxing lunch, we arrived home at 1:45 as our friends were on their Southwest plane headed home to Florida.
This cruise was a very pleasant surprise. After our last Celebrity experience I had low expectations. Yet it was a wonderful cruise. Captain Yannis’ is the most out and about Captain I recall from any of our cruises. Cruise director Dan was everywhere. The crew is happy and with two isolated exceptions among our group, service was outstanding. Our dining room team at table 165 of Putra and Onsa were incredible, taking care of DW’s special dietary needs while also catering to my particular preferences.
The shows were of a caliber not seen on a ship we’ve traveled on for years. Unlike the Reflection a few years ago, they were understandable and enjoyable, with talented performers. The food in the main dining room was consistently very good, with some excellent options thrown in. Finding that aft grille in the Oceanview café was also a nice surprise, we do not recall that from previous trips on the Summit.
The captain announced that the Summit will be getting a $77 million dry-dock next spring as the corporation had decided to keep the C class ships in the fleet. This is good as the furniture in the Oceanview is certainly past its prime. Some of the new “Edge” features will be incorporated into the ship.
A Bermuda cruise is ‘different’ that almost any other cruise with just one port and the ship becoming a floating hotel for several days. Regardless, we slept extremely well, had a great time and enjoyed nearly everything the ship had to offer. No cruise in a number of years has exceeded four stars in my reviews since our five star Antarctica cruise on the Zaandam in 2015. The happy ship Summit gets 4 ½ stars (out of 5). We look forward to future cruises on the Summit after next year’s renovations. Read Less