My husband and I have been cruising since our honeymoon 30+ years ago (which my parents bought us as a wedding present). During the pandemic we were so sad that we could not sail. We cancelled two or three cruises during that period (or they were canceled by the cruise lines). Finally we were able to sail on June 19 on our favorite ship, the Celebrity Summit. We had sailed on her six times prior. After being fully vaccinated and taking our pre-cruise Covid tests, we were ready to sail! We drove to the Cape Liberty port in Bayonne and it was a fairly easy drive from our home in PA. We did not know what to expect at the port regarding embarkation. We had booked a Sky Suite, and we are Elite level on Celebrity (and Diamond level on Royal Caribbean). Typically in the past there was a separate line for Suite guests, but this was not the case for this cruise. The luggage handlers were cheerful and efficient, and the check in process at the port station, while different from past cruises, was efficient and friendly. However we had to go and sit on metal folding chairs while we waited to board. We were kind of surprised that guests who had checked in were told to sit in close rows with other guests for a half hour (in our case) before boarding. Our check in time was 11:30 a.m. and we got there around 11:10 a.m. We felt a little uncomfortable sitting in such close proximity to others but everyone seemed to be in a jovial mood and knowing we were all vaccinated and had tested negative helped ease our minds.
Finally the cruise reps announced that we could board, and we were dismissed from the waiting area by rows. It was very orderly even though some people tried to cut ahead. Once we embarked on the ship, we were greeted by Summit staff who cheered the passengers getting onboard! It added to our joy at sailing again! There was no glass of champagne offered at embarkation for this cruise. Probably a cutback due to the pandemic. Not a problem though; we were just happy to get onboard.
We dropped off our carryon bags at our cabin and got our sea passes on our cabin door. We met our butler and room steward, and both were so friendly. We went to lunch at Luminae and it did not disappoint; we love that restaurant. Our butler was Ronald and our room steward was Pres. After 1 p.m. the cabins were cleared for us to go to them, and we did and completed our muster drill online check in and then went to our muster station to check in there. Very easy. Much easier than in the past. I did have to ask at the muster station where our life jackets were in the cabin, and was happy to hear they were stored under our bed.
Very nice sky suite. Larger than typical balcony (cabin 6131). Bed was great; lots of storage. Only one outlet however to charge things or plug anything in. No USB charging available; we brought our own travel plug/USB charging cord. An extension cord was confiscated from my luggage before it got to our cabin; I did not know this was forbidden. The tub is hard to get in and out of when showering, and my husband and I have no physical issues. A grab bar would have been helpful, as stepping OUT of the tub is a steep drop. The fridge worked great, as did the AC. The room was very comfortable and spacious enough for us as a couple. There were lots of hangers for our clothing. We got room service every day for breakfast and the menus/order forms were in our cabin and easy to fill out. My husband had two shirts pressed after embarkation and it went smoothly. Room steward kept the cabin spotless!