We chose to sail on Summit for the fifth time, because we love the ship and we also love that it's not HUGE, and it sails from Cape Liberty and that is a port we can drive to, rather than fly. We have had four wonderful cruises on ... Read More
We chose to sail on Summit for the fifth time, because we love the ship and we also love that it's not HUGE, and it sails from Cape Liberty and that is a port we can drive to, rather than fly. We have had four wonderful cruises on her in the past six years.
Sometimes the drive from Philly to Bayonne has been a bit crazy due to road construction but this year it was as smooth as could be. We were early enough to secure a parking place in the parking garage, which was what I was hoping since we were leaving our fairly new car there for a week. However every time we have parked in cruise parking at Bayonne it has always been fine, whether in the garage or not.
The only glitch with embarkation was that we were told by the stevedore when we dropped off our luggage, that we could not bring a case of bottled water onboard, even though we had a ship luggage tag on it. We have always done this in the past with no problem. He insisted it was a new rule, but that we could "carry on" the case of water. Well we weren't going to park and walk all the way to the terminal and then onboard carrying a case of water. I have a kidney condition which requires that I drink at least 64 oz of water/day, and while we did have the premium drink package, it's just been easier to have the bottled water in bulk available in our cabin. :( My husband put a few bottles in his carry on bag.
Because we were booked in a suite we had almost no wait to check in, and before you knew it we were onboard, and given a glass of champagne. We were informed we could drop off our carry on bags at our suite and pick up our cabin keys there. We did this and headed to Luminae for lunch.
The service in Luminae was excellent, as it has been on the prior two cruises. We were happy to see our waiter from last year there still too! The food was good but I was disappointed they didn't have the fried chicken and waffles we had the first day onboard last year. At dinner the first night we had excellent service as we did the entire cruise this time as well. The sommelier was very attentive and we never had to wait for anything. The food portions are sometimes a bit small, but for me they seemed very healthy and certainly filling. Desserts were extremely tasty (cheesecake, strawberry shortcake, and chocolate mousse cake are ones that we shared).
Our cabin, a Sky Suite, was roomy and well laid out. We stayed in the same cabin the prior two years and it was exciting to see the changes from the "revolution!" We found the decor to be brighter and lovely. The bed was a big improvement and it was extremely luxurious and comfortable, as were the pillows. What was lacking was the amount of shelving, both in the bathroom and next to the desk. Several shelves have been removed for purposes of decor I guess. The wall next to the desk had two magazine racks; not very useful. Where the shelves used to be in the bathroom beside the commode, there was just a big empty rectangular space. Pretty, but not efficient with regard to space.
The bathroom was MUCH brighter. However the shower seemed even harder to get into than before. The step up into the tub is as high as ever (we always bring a portable step stool to help getting in and out of the shower/tub), but there is a glass immoveable partition next to the commode which makes it impossible to turn the shower on without getting doused in the process. The shower curtain clung to the bather because it was in between two immoveable glass partitions. I venture to think some passengers might have trouble squeezing between these two immoveable glass partitions to get into the tub/shower. Also the fixtures in the tub/shower were difficult to adjust, and at one point one of the temperature control handles came off in my hand when I was attempting to adjust the temperature in the shower.
We chose this stateroom mostly because of its oversized balcony. I had spent months looking forward to sitting in a lounge chair reading a book on this wonderful balcony. Unfortunately and to our surprise, the previous comfortable lounge furniture has been replaced with two stiff wood and metal upright chairs, a table (which was fine) and a love seat, with a cushion that seemed to absorb water. There were two concrete foot stools that were virtually impossible to move due to their weight. The second or third day we appealed to our butler and he got a lounge chair for me to use on our balcony. He told us he was going to leave it there for future guests, as it seemed like a good idea! Whomever redecorated the balconies apparently thought stiff wooden chairs would be great for lounging on a lovely balcony, rather than lounging as most passengers would enjoy on vacation.
Hubby arranged for a surprise for me on our anniversary, and flowers were waiting after dinner, as well as rose petals on the bed and two towel swans facing each other, making a heart. VERY romantic! He had assistance on this from Rhiannon, one of the concierges in the Retreat (she was so helpful every day!).
We ate in one Specialty Restaurant, the Tuscan Grille. It was super easy booking a reservation for that meal the night before on the Celebrity App. I loved that this was so easy and we could see what times were available. Saved so much time and effort, rather than calling, etc. The service in the Tuscan Grille was excellent. The food was delicious and the portions were large. The chicken (parmesan) was a very tough piece of chicken, but the sauce and eggplant parmesan were delicious. Not sure the meal was worth $90, but it was a nice diversion from Luminae where hubby got tired of the menu there.
We didn't attend many shows. We saw some of the comedian and he was very talented (magician and hypnotist) and very entertaining. Did not attend any of the regular shows with the ship entertainment singers/dancers. The port shopping talk was very informative and lots of great prizes were given out there (there was a raffle). Also VIP shopping coupons could be picked up later for shopping in the port of Bermuda.
We shopped at Kings Wharf and picked up some souvenirs. The Clocktower mall has a little bit of everything and is always fun, and not too large. I always get a piece of jewelry at the Crisson store there, and I bought some Bermudian perfume as well. Two days in port we ate lunch at the Frog and Onion restaurant, which is newly air-conditioned. The food and service was superb. On the third day in Bermuda we took the shore excursion to Horseshoe Bay. The service to and from was very efficient (air conditioned bus). Even though we have been to Horseshoe Bay several times, it never disappoints. I was glad we chose to go to HB on the last day in port because it was less crowded than usual, even though the Norwegian Escape was in port when we were. Such a beautiful beach. Clean; the water is stunning; the sand is cool and pink. There are changing rooms, restrooms, a burger restaurant and bar. You cannot go wrong at this beach for amenities. We rented two loungers and an umbrella and it was lovely.
On the last day at sea we were invited to a special luncheon with the Captain and a few of his senior officers. Only a handful of couples were invited, and I'm not sure how we rated the invitation, lol. It was just amazing, intimate, and this captain and his crew are truly amazing dedicated people.
Debarkation was seamless. Hubby got brought some breakfast to me from the Oceanview Cafe, and then we headed to the Retreat to wait to be called to disembark. Oh I forgot to mention, the Retreat has also been revolutionized, and it's lovely and has great service. Hubby missed the leather chairs and paneling, but I thought it looked peaceful and airy.
Our only problems on this trip were getting the items we had pre-ordered (and paid for ahead of time) to be in our cabin when we set sail. NONE of the items we ordered (wine, rum, flowers) were delivered on sailing day, and when we inquired, nobody seemed to know anything about them. We had to complain numerous times but finally got the rum and the wine on the second and third days.
After debarkation, we collected our car and luggage and were on our way home by mid-morning. A great trip. :) Another wonderful cruise for the memory books. Read Less