Greetings, One and All. By my guesstimate, this was my 12th cruise, though my first repositioning sailing. In total transparency... I readily admit it's been ten years since my last one...also on the Summit where I had 3 adjoining, balcony rooms... Kids and Godparents necessitated that togetherness. That being said, you know it's a bad omen when you show up at the cruise terminal four hours prior to departure and there's no one remotely in the vicinity to check your mountain of luggage (not all mine, mostly hers). However, we were efficiently prodded and pushed from one check point to the next (like cattle on the way to slaughter) with no one individual breathing my air, able to answer the oft repeated question, "where do we check our luggage?" It was only after we stumbled headlong into the ship with bags in tow, did I realize the all-important question would never be answered. Moving over a hundred fifty pounds of luggage up numerous elevators, and down multiple hallways made me grateful this "fat boy" works out five days a week. Evidently, the Aqua Class, to my chagrin, is in name only... most likely to insure a specific room selection, not necessarily VIP ingress and egress, per the (Aqua Class perks in Celebrity's description.)
I started calling guest relations on day one to voice my displeasure and finally got a response on day four. Seems because we were there at 4:30 P.M., we fell headlong through the crevasses and cracks. Guessing we should have been there at high noon taking advantage of another Aqua Class Perk, the VIP lounge, that never crossed our path through the cattle chute. Not an acceptable answer, I'm sorry. But, moving ahead to day six, I started calling to confirm an expedited exit on Sunday to catch a noon flight out of Laguardia. It took until day eight to firm that up. I understand, I'm a small fish in a big pond, but since I'm a published author and blogger...I do come with an outlet of my opinion. In the midst of that conversation, live and in person I might add, I'd given up on a prompt return call, I asked for credit on the welcoming bottle of champagne I failed to receive the first night (too tired from the luggage fiasco...no doubt) to apply toward a bottle of red wine for a 1:00P.M. $50.00 brunch in the Tuscan Grill. Seems that wasn't possible, (the champagne was complimentary) but because they could, Guest Relations would send a bottle immediately to my room, 9:00 AM by my watch. Well, Boy Howdy...A bottle of Pinot Noir miraculously appeared in our stateroom sometime after 2:00 PM or by estimate..."long after our delicious brunch had come and gone."
Select Dining is a misnomer in Aqua Class. It's spelled J O K E. Don't believe you can eat in the main dining room when you want and where you want, as well as, Blu. It doesn't happen or if it does, I'll truly never know. Multiple attempts to eat with the regular folks, fell on deaf ears. Finally, my wonderful cabin steward took matters into his own hands, and within thirty minutes, the maitre d, whose name I'll withhold, left a message and even followed up with a return call, offering to make it right. Sadly, by then, the second to last day of our cruise, we were over making it right. Heck...we even contemplated jumping ship in Bermuda, hanging around a day or two and flying home. But, thanks to the cajoling of a Beautiful, Jewish Lady from Jersey, we stuck it out. She was definitely a delight to be around and was most confident our trip would get better. If it didn't...well we could always ask for a discount on our next cruise. Really...I'm thinking Viking River Cruise. Ya think Celebrity would help us out on that one?
The Food.........God Help Us All. Only today, did I receive a survey from Celebrity wanting to know if I enjoyed the "movable feast cruise." Better still, did I know it was billed as a movable feast cruise? Seriously, you ask me that one day removed from the ship? There was no inkling of that ultimate, dining experience anywhere....at anytime...ever. Best kept secret on the Summit... Best kept secret on Celebrity...you betcha, betcha, betcha.
But I regress...By day three, I quickly realized all the food tastes the same...it's just reconfigured in many, creative ways. By day five...other than the specialty restaurants, we were over... eating...seriously. My palate couldn't be coaxed, prodded or diluted with alcohol to eat another bite in their primary restaurants.
In days of old, I remember the food we savored in Celebrity's specialty restaurants, Q Sine and Tuscan Grill, were standard fare. Sadly, those delectable creations at every meal are now... only faded, fond memories of 'the good ole days." The good news is after three days, you may actually you start to lose weight. I surely did.
Games of chance...better odds and fonder memories from submarine races.
Bingo was a major waste of time. $50.00 bought you six cards...their payout by my calculations...less than 20%. Jackpots on previous cruises were $500.00 to $1200.00 I know for a fact...because we won numerous times those exact amounts.
The antiquated Casino and gruff Eastern European pit bosses and managers we chose to avoid. Hats off to the Filipino's who did their best to smooth over the rudeness.
The Spa... They've graciously attempted to put Dolly Parton in a training bra on the Summit. The spacious pictures of the magnificent spa that ultimately sold my significant other on Aqua Class was nowhere to be found. What we did find was a very aromatic, claustrophobic room with a few chambers, no windows and little, to no guests. Seems the pictures used in Celebrity's description came from a newer, larger ship...most definitely...not the Summit.
Now....there were some positives...I'll give you that. We liked snagging a cabana on deck twelve, the rooftop terrace early in the morning. My sweetheart could embrace the sun and I could...well... hide from it. Ah...togetherness.
We found the numerous entertainment venues to be professional and rewarding.
The shopping diverse...the inventory a little too rich for me...except on the last cruise day.
Our cabin steward, Alfredo, was attentive and efficient, truly a joy to be around. The room was spacious...the open balcony...to die for.
Donovan, a roving Jamaican DJ / Waiter, made each morning at the Ocean View Cafe, memorable. The adage, joy comes in the morning, surely is exemplified in him.
Bermuda....breath taking. I'd suggest you take the ferry to Hamilton and rent a scooter or a little electric car for a day or two. Roam the island at your leisure, embrace the people...the beaches...the atmosphere. Allow them to embrace you back...They most certainly will. If you've survived driving erratically on the "wrong side of the road," (don't say that above earshot) you should make your way to St. George and fall in love with Bermuda again. Turn in your transport there and ferry back to the ship.
I could go on...and on. But, I won't. Along the roads of life, there are potholes...some negotiable, some not. Best to be informed as much as possible. Even then, it's still a crap shoot. Bring along your diving gear... to experience Aqua Class in its truest form...Underwater, no less. I honestly wished we did.
Excellent choice....open balcony.....attentive steward.
St. Thomas is still under repair.
We took our own tour of the island. It, too, is under repair.
We rented a moped and toured the island for two days. Exceptional island, awesome beaches, and beautiful people. Spend a day in St. George. You won't be disappointed.