This is the third time that we have sailed on the Celebrity Summit to Bermuda. We did so twice before the refurbishment of the ship.
To begin, the refurbishment was overall well done.
The same colour tones permeate most of the ship, mostly muted tones (grey's, whites, etc.) We enjoyed the new look very much, however, we spoke to a few people who did not appreciate the modernity of it as much.
Now getting back to the actual cruise.
It was an all around great trip. We drove from our home to Bayonne, New Jersey (about a 6 hour drive) and stayed overnight in Paramus, New Jersey at the Courtyard by Marriott right beside the Garden State Parkway, it was very convenient and about a 45 minute drive to the port the next morning. We left our luggage off at the port before we parked at Bayonne Cruise Parking. The cost was 120$ versus the 154$ to park in the garage at the port and they shuttled us back to the port for embarkation.
Embarkation was a breeze, they've decided to forgo giving you your keys at check-in, instead you keep your x-press pass (check-in paperwork) and get on the ship using that. Once you've embarked, you can go straight to your cabin to retrieve your key cards and deposit your carry-on bags, before heading to lunch, which is a nice touch. (They do remind you multiple times that your cabin is not ready and that they will make an announcement when you can go in and take residence).
The only complaint we had was the library or rather the lack thereof. It now consists of a cart on the third floor midship, with about 30 books on it and there are a few on the shelves in the Rendez-Vous lounge.
The service was excellent around the ship. We made reservations every evening for dinner which is a must, if not you will end up waiting unless you want to eat very early or very late, at which time there is little to no wait. We had select (anytime) dinning, but usually try to find one waiter we like, they accommodated us every single evening, even when the waiter's section was full! We would be seated at a table near his section and he would serve us. One night he had at least five extra tables! The food was very good, it came to the table hot and was what we expected.
Every single staff member we saw in the hallway or around the ship greeted us with a "hello" and a smile. We often saw the assistant maître d's going around the dining room checking on the quality of the food and service and even helping with service from time to time. You can tell just by how the dining staff interact with each other that it is very much a team effort.
The entertainment on the ship was very good. As we've cruised many times before, we attended one of the onboard cast shows, but decided not to go to anymore because it was pretty much the same as all the other ships. The first night, they had a comedian who was very funny, he did perform an adult show later on in the cruise, but it was very similar to the first show. They also had a singer, Jesse Hamilton Jr. who was excellent! We enjoyed his show very much. They had a magician, Ryan Joyce who was hilarious and did some amazing tricks, he returned for a second show as well, this time hypnosis. It was a matinee show and was crowded, so you should get there early.
We enjoyed trivia almost daily, they were very hard! But we didn't really do any of the other activities.
The captain's club cocktail party was well worth it if you are a returning guest/ past-passenger.
As it was our fourth time in Bermuda, we decided to keep it low-key. We went to Tobacco Bay the first day and Elbow beach the second. If you go to Elbow Beach, be aware that the private side costs 100$ for two beach chairs, an umbrella and access to their facilities (marble bathroom with showers). The third day, we stayed onboard knowing we would not be able to get near the pools the next day and so we took advantage of that. However, the crystal caves, Hamilton, Saint-George, etc. are all fun things to do and must-sees in Bermuda if you've never been. The bus system and Ferries are easy to use and efficient. They have a mini-bus system now right on the dock, that charges 7$ a person to go to Horseshoe Bay, we were able to get a mini-bus of 10 people to go to Elbow Beach at 10$ a person one way and a taxi for 6 people at 7$ a person to go back, it was a bit more expensive than the bus, but it saved time.
We decided to do the walk-off from the ship which started promptly at 8am as advertised, from that time to our shuttle bus (which was waiting for us), it took us 10 minutes (including immigration/customs). Overall, one of the easiest disembarkations we have done in over 20 cruises!
With the refurbishment, they gave new life to the cabins and replaced the awful shower curtain with a glass door which makes it more comfortable. They've also included lighting under the vanity for when the lights are off in the bathroom which is a nice touch. The decor of the cabin is more relaxed, straying away from the traditional wood panelling into more muted colour tones. They've changed out the vanity in the stateroom, making it slightly smaller, without really sacrificing any storage. They've also included more electrical outlets and have added USB ports in the walls, which is a nice touch. There is also an electrical outlet in one of the lamps which is nice, especially for those with sleep apnea machines, no more need for cumbersome extensions! This cabin is by the forward elevators on deck three. It is very quiet and comfortable.