Sail Date: August 2013
Overall, the cruise was AMAZING and so was the trip to Bermuda. My boyfriend and I planned this cruise and we loved our whole experience. There were some things we'd change for our next cruise, but we would definitely go on Celebrity ... Read More
Overall, the cruise was AMAZING and so was the trip to Bermuda. My boyfriend and I planned this cruise and we loved our whole experience. There were some things we'd change for our next cruise, but we would definitely go on Celebrity again. That being said, here's my review: Embarking: I really didn't know what to expect, as this was my first cruise. We were driven to Bayonne by family and got dropped off around 10. We sat in the waiting area and we were in group #4 to get on to the ship. We took a shuttle to the ship and were given complimentary mimosas/wine which was a nice touch! We got right on to the ship and went on to deck 10 and of course got a fruity tropical drink. By this point it was about 11 am. So as you can see we got on the ship really quickly. We hung out on the deck and explored until our room was ready. At this time we ate at the Oceanview Cafe. Oceanview Cafe: We ate here the first day for lunch and it was not what I had expected. Everyone I had known who had cruised before had said the food was the best part and that was definitely not the case. The food wasn't terrible it just wasn't anything to write home about for. It was like your last resort if you didn't want to eat anywhere else. I'm sure a lot of kids liked it because I saw a lot of children eating there. The ice cream also wasn't good even though I saw people eating it constantly. AquaClass: We opted for the AquaClass because we wanted a more upscale experience. I didn't know what to expect in the room but after a few days we realized didn't have everything we were supposed to (bathrobes, slippers, etc) so we asked Dianna (I think that was her name) and she got them for us. She was GREAT. So helpful! (even when our toilet wasn't working the last 2 days). In any event, we did enjoy our veranda and the bottled water in the room. However, we didn't really care about the fresh fruit (apples) or the extra toiletries (I bring my own & my boyfriend doesn't care). The bathroom was small, but there's not much you can do. The room was always kept clean by the staff, although a lot of times we were in and out of the room so we just put up the Do Not Disturb sign. AquaSpa: The AquaSpa was not used. We were going to use it one day at the end of the cruise but I had gotten seasick and we wound up going back to the room. I wouldn't use it if I had to pay for it. Also, the AquaSpa cafe offered salad, yogurt & your normal "healthy" stuff. For us, being on vacation meant we wanted to splurge and dieting was put to the side. Blu: We chose AquaClass so we could dine at Blu but we probably wouldn't do it again. We aren't complaining about it because the food was amazing, but we were just looking for more of that typical cruise dining experience and Blu was more of a traditional restaurant that we would eat at home. We love going out to dinner and Blu was a very nice restaurant and the maitre de was EXCELLENT. We mostly chose to eat there for breakfast after we got a taste of the main dining room. Cosmopolitan/Main Dining Room: We didn't eat at the Main Dining Room until the 3rd night of the cruise and we definitely regret that. We should have been eating there the entire time! It was more of a cruise atmosphere and the food was better. Blu had good food don't get me wrong, but we just felt it was more stuffy. Another mistake was that we ate late the first and second nights. We normally would eat around 8-9 if we went to dinner at home and we did that the first two nights of the cruise & regretted it. We missed out on a lot of the night time activities. Beverage Package: GET THE BEVERAGE PACKAGE! We went back and forth with the beverage package and as a first time cruiser I really had no idea what to do. My boyfriend had cruised before when we was younger but he wasn't paying for them then! We do drink so it was nice to have all of our alcohol included (we didn't purchase anything over the $12 cap). We were able to drink wine, beer, fruity drinks, martinis, gourmet coffee drinks and unlimited bottled water, juices, sodas, ginger ale (for when you get seasick!), and sparkling water. It was so easy to just hand over your blue seapass card and get your drink. Plus you don't have to sign anything so you just get your drink and go. The water they give you is either Evian or some other brand but they give you a huge bottle so it's great. Just buy the beverage package if not for convenience. Why cut corners on vacation? Normandy: Oh. My. Gosh. We got a $160 credit from AMEX towards a specialty dining restaurant and we are SOOOO HAPPY WE CHOSE NORMANDY! WHAT AN EXPERIENCE! If you can afford to do it, DO IT. Take a night for yourself if you're with kids, and GO. We did the food and wine paring and it was AWESOME. We had always wanted to do that at home, but when you are drinking wine that much, you know that you will need a DD and it was hard to plan at home so this is definitely something we were happy we did on the cruise. The staff was GREAT and they made jokes with us & it was just SO amazing. All of the food was EXCELLENT, TOP NOTCH. If you can, GO! You will not be disappointed. Ports: I didn't realize that the ship used to dock in Hamilton, my boyfriend had gone to Bermuda when they did. Wow, I wish they still did that. Or that I didn't know that it used to be that way. Basically you have 2 1/2 days where you're actually in Bermuda. Where they dock you in Bermuda there isn't much to do. You can go to the beach & get frozen yogurt. There is a restaurant and some shops but nothing amazing. The first day we were there we went to the beach very early and beat the crowd. We wound up staying for about two hours and then the rain started so we left right when that happened. It was expensive to get on the beach, get a chair and get snorkelling equipment, but my boyfriend said that was his favorite part so you decide what's important to you. It was $10 per person to get on the beach, $20 for a towel (we forgot ours, so we bought one because we needed one and I wanted a souvenir anyway), $15 for a chair (which I used) and the snorkel and flippers were about $20. So you're looking at $65 just for us to go to the beach for 2 hours. Then again a lot of that was on extras, so you decide. A huge group came in before it started to get cloudy & started raining, and the guy next to me started farting without a care, so it was kind of a sign to leave! Went back on the ship to eat lunch, got dressed & went on our glass bottom boat tour (more on that later). After the glass bottom boat tour we went to Hamilton. The city is super clean and nice, has a lot of luxury shops as well as souvenir places. Go to Hamilton for your souvenirs. There was one store we went in and I got t shirts and other things and it was the cheapest one, and had all the same things as the other stores. I forget the name but wait to go to Hamilton to buy your Bermuda stuff. Ferry is cheap and times are good, but it is SUCH A PAIN to take. You wait like herds of cattle for 20 minutes before you get on the ferry, then it's a 20 minute ferry ride to Hamilton. It really takes a lot out of you. We went to Hamilton for a few hours and wound up coming back to the ship. A lot of people stayed in Hamilton for a night time festival but we did not do that. The next day we took the ferry to St. George's. The line was really long & we were afraid we weren't going to get on. My boyfriend had told me that St. George's was kind of just for an hour or two because there wasn't much to do and that it was more historic. It's definitely a must-see and I would say his description is accurate. I can't see spending more than half a day there. We took a taxi from St. George's to Hamilton. Everyone was warning us to not take the taxis because of how expensive they are, but honestly it was worth it. They charge you the meter rate, and it cost $40 for both of us to go from St. George to Hamilton and it was a relaxing ride. We were able to rejuvenate! For us, spending $40 on a taxi was worth it when you cut out the almost 1 hour it takes to wait for a ferry, get on a ferry and get to your destination. You decide what is worth it to you. The last day in Bermuda we did our dolphin excursion and went back on our ship which was nice and quiet because people were still exploring in Bermuda. It leaves around 4:30 so you do have a good part of the day to do things. Next time we would do one full day in Hamilton and take a taxi to do it. We would go to the beach the other days & stay the full day instead of taking so many trips back and forth! Shopping: Shopping onboard is good - nothing crazy. They have cute jewelry in the one store and Swarovski. It's a fun thing to do when there's nothing else you feel like doing. Bought a watch in the fine jewelry store. Just make sure you know the prices of things before you go. I got a Citizens watch for 40% off and it wound up costing me in the $100's range. They had other brands too that I would wait on to get from Macys or another department store on sale, but honestly if you are only going to save a dollar here or there, I say buy it on the ship because it gives you a memory too. They had some Fossil, Guess, Steve Madden and Big Buddha in one of the stores. Shopping in Hamilton is awesome. My boyfriend surprised me with an early birthday present. He got a me the Louis Vuitton purse I wanted at the Louis Vuitton store in Hamilton. I was able to convince him to do it because there is no tax! I say only use 1/3 of your spending money on the ship and the rest in Hamilton and splurge. Pools/Sun Deck: Lots of kids in the pool. I didn't like going in the pool when we were at sea because it made me sea sick. You definitely feel the boat moving when you're in the pool. My boyfriend loved it though. He doesn't get seasick. I had brought 2 books with me and had a great time laying out on the deck and reading and drinking fruity drinks. This is also where the beverage package comes in handy. The burgers and hot dogs on the deck are amazing too. We didn't have a hard time getting good spots. You do find some chair hogs but it's really not that hard to find a chair in the sun, even at prime sun hours. Martini Bar: Great drinks, nice place to go before/after dinner. Excursions: Most of the excursions meet right outside of the ship. Next Cruise: Earlier Dining Main Dining Room Buy Beverage Package Get More Involved In Activities Lay Out More No excursions Manage time in ports better Not get up so early! No ferry Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2013
We booked an Aqua Class cabin (9110). It was spacious and had a great balcony. We found it to be very clean and nicely appointed. This cruise exceeded our expectations. We weren't sure what to expect, but what we found was a very ... Read More
We booked an Aqua Class cabin (9110). It was spacious and had a great balcony. We found it to be very clean and nicely appointed. This cruise exceeded our expectations. We weren't sure what to expect, but what we found was a very relaxing and wonderful experience. My partner and I (two gay males 37 & 43), found the crew to be friendly and very helpful. The Blu restaurant is worth the upgrade to Aqua Class within itself. The wait staff was friendly, and attentive. The food was amazing! So much selection and creativity! The portions were not enormous, so we never felt like we were eating too much. It was great to be able to try so many new things. Celebrity is known for it's food, and it definitely did not disappoint. We only dined in the main dining room once on a formal night. We found it to be nice, but so much more crowded than Blu. We dined at the Normandie restaurant twice. We really loved it (partly because we are Art Deco fanatics, and it is all done in Deco). The food was definitely the best in this restaurant. Their attention to detail was outstanding. We really enjoyed the spa treatments that we booked (only wish they wouldn't try to up sell so much on products). Access to the Persian Garden was wonderful (included for Aqua Class Guests). The Turkish Bath was my personal favourite. Great way to relax. Overall I found the boat to be in good shape. I didn't notice any glaring problems. It impressed me. We are already looking forward to our next cruise with Celebrity in Aqua Class on the Reflection in December. Maybe the newer boat will surpass our experience on the Summit!   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
Let me say first that without Cruise Critic we would have been totally lost on our first cruise. Many of the suggestions here were lifesavers on the cruise-I will address those later. We would have never thought about taking a cruise to ... Read More
Let me say first that without Cruise Critic we would have been totally lost on our first cruise. Many of the suggestions here were lifesavers on the cruise-I will address those later. We would have never thought about taking a cruise to Bermuda-that ports out of New Jersey (1413 miles from where we live in Nebraska) but our son, Jordan Peterson, was recently hired in March to be a solo piano player/singer on the Summit. We have always been able to follow him wherever he is performing, so we had to keep up the tradition! We arrived at the port at approximately 1:00 and since we were Concierge Class we bypassed the LONG line and were on the ship in no time. We knew that Jordan was scheduled to play at the Cafe' al Bacio at 2:00, so we really wanted to get there before he started. We finally boarded the elevator to the 5th floor to find Jordan's smiling face looking back at us from his chair at the Cafe'. What a moment to witness he and his mother hug! It seemed longer than four months since we have seen him. We spent the first hour on the ship at the Cafe' listening to Jordan in disbelief on how much he has improved in both his singing and playing. A funny story that happened at the Cafe' was when I first presented my SeaPass card, Valentin, the barista said, "You have the same name as Jordan!" I said, "he is my son!" Valentin then proceeded to tell all of the servers who I was and they all came up and shook my hand. We made our way up to our room after Jordan's set and were pleasantly surprised at the size of the room. We were sharing the room with my mother and were a little concerned at how much space we would have. We had cabin 8082 with a veranda; which I feel is a must for the cruise. I will agree with most of those on the board that the crew were very friendly and courteous. They went out of their way to smile and make you feel welcome. The only crew we did not find as courteous were the bartenders at the Ocean View. They did not seem as "happy" as everybody else on the ship. The food was not as "amazing" as I thought it would be. The buffet at the Oceanview Cafe was really good, especially breakfast. The service is great and the views even better. Room service was very handy after late nights watching Jordan. It was so easy just to use the interactive TV and order whatever we wanted! The room service pizza was AWESOME! We ate at Normandie one night and the Crêpes Ballon Rouge was the highlight of my meals on the cruise. We ate at the Cosmopolitan the last night of the cruise and were not impressed. Service was not great and the food was mediocre. This is just our experience, I know that others have loved the food there. I was very impressed with the "Bistro on Five". It does cost, but the meals are $5.00 and include three courses. The crepes are amazing. Sometimes it really was nice to beat the hustle and bustle of the other restaurants and have a nice, quiet meal there. The Pool Side Grill was also a favorite spot for us. It is very handy to grab a delicious burger and hot dog whenever we wanted, and they were VERY tasty! I have to single out the Cafe' al Bacio staff. They were so nice to us. I am not sure if it was because we were Jordan's parents and he plays so often there, or if they are just always that nice. Nevertheless, Daria, Magdalena and Valentin all treated us like family and our service there was the best on the ship. The entertainment on the ship was of course, AWESOME (we are biased). Here is a video of the opening performance by all of the Summit musicians: The magician, Jason Bishop, was VERY good. Not only a great illusionist, but a great comedian-very witty. Michele Balan, the Comedian, was also very funny and we really enjoyed her. She was very funny as a judge in both the "Liar's Club" and "Dancing With The Stripes." She is very quick-witted and hilarious. We also had a fun time listening to the guitarist, Brandi Paige. She is very versatile and has a great voice. We even talked her into playing a duet at the end of her set at Michael's Club with Jordan. We were so excited to learn that the 54 Below entertainer on the ship would be Liz Callaway and Jordan was asked to play with her as her usual pianist was not able to attend. We even got to watch them rehearse and were treated to our own little show. We met her after the show and she was like everybody said, so down to earth and approachable. The Crewners are the a cappella group and have a tremendous following on the ship. They are very tight with their vocal harmonies and put on a good show. As far as Bermuda goes, IT WAS AWESOME. I wish I was still there. I was totally surprised and taken back by how polite and courteous all of the residents were there. I rode the famous "pink buses" several times and was amazed by how each passenger who got on the bus greeted the driver with "hello sir" and "thank you sir" when they left. Totally blown away by this. I found everyone I encountered in Bermuda as polite and glad that we were visiting their country. I want to go back....NOW. We did not do a lot of excursions, but we visited Hamilton, Horseshoe Beach and Scaur Park-an old fort that is a photographers dream and gives you some great views of the entire island. The Naval Dockyard shopping was very pleasant and easy to get around in. The "Frog and Onion Pub" had some great micro brews and good food. On our last day in Bermuda we visited Snorkle Park Beach and it was a blast. We rented peddle boats and that was so fun. It was a nice end to our time in Bermuda. I was very impressed with how visible the Captain and the Cruise Director, Alexander, were. The Captain actually sat down in the Cafe' al Bacio and had a coffee and listened to Jordan. Alexander was wonderful and he and Jordan have a great relationship and plan on doing some very cool things together in the future. The crew goes out of their way to make sure you are comfortable on the ship and feel welcome. Here are some of the tips and hints that we actually used from the boards here on Cruise Critic: 1. If you have a CPAP machine, bring an extension cord as the outlets are across the room from the bed. 2. Bring travel outlet adapters-preferable two of them. There are two outlets by the vanity that will give you more outlets. 3. Downey Wrinkle Release is AMAZING. We were skeptical, but it REALLY WORKS to get wrinkles out of packed clothing. 4. Those that suggested bringing walkie talkies-YOU WERE TOTALLY RIGHT!! It is very hard to communicate with others on the ship because of limited cell phone usage and walkie-talkies would have been very handy. I had them out to pack, but did not bring them-wish we would have. 5. Baggies to take to the beach are very useful for keeping electronic items dry. 6. We brought an over the door shoe holder to put in the bathroom, but did not use it. There was plenty of room in the bathroom for storing everything. 7. Those that suggested to pack your suitcase-and then take 1/2 out-were totally right. I would probably be able to do my next cruise with just a carry on. 8. The train shuttle in Bermuda is very helpful to take you around the shopping area for those who have a hard time walking. 9. I would recommend taking the taxi from Horseshoe Beach to the ship. It is $30.00 and takes you from the beach to the door of the ship. Overall we were VERY happy with the cruise. When my wife asked me what my favorite part of the cruise was, I replied, "I love to watch people watching Jordan." He is doing what he is meant to do and gets to touch people with his music each and every week. We are trying to figure out how we are going to go on his next cruise aboard the Celebrity Century sailing to Hawaii, Mexico, Central American and the Panama Canal!!   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
With much trepidation, we booked a 7-night cruise from beautiful Bayonne, NJ to Bermuda on the beautiful Celebrity Summit (a phrase you'll hear repeatedly onboard- lol). We were hesitant because of the previous cruise troubles and my ... Read More
With much trepidation, we booked a 7-night cruise from beautiful Bayonne, NJ to Bermuda on the beautiful Celebrity Summit (a phrase you'll hear repeatedly onboard- lol). We were hesitant because of the previous cruise troubles and my fear that all the kids would be seasick and therefore ruin the trip. In our party are myself, my husband, father-in-law and five kids (ages 7,9, 11, 13, and 15). We booked two cabins, a Concierge cabin with balcony for the girls and a cabin directly across the hall for the boys. Embarkation Driving up the turnpike was nuts. A huge amount of traffic for a Sunday morning. It took us a little over two hours to get from Burlington County, NJ to the terminal. Upon arriving at the terminal, we were helped with our 11(!)pieces of luggage by the vulturesque porters. Since we had a Concierge room, we were allowed to bypass the huge line to get our documents checked. The rest of the procedure took about 15 minutes. As soon as we stepped onboard, we were given a squirt of hand sanitizer and a glass of champagne (adults) or fresh-squeezed oj (kids). It was after 1 pm, so our cabins were ready. Cabins Concierge cabin 9185 was very nice. For two people. Not four. Balcony made all the difference with an extra 25% space. Everything was very clean, regardless of what other reviewers have posted. Our cabin attendant, Shubert, was ALWAYS there to handle anything we needed. I really don't think that poor man got any sleep. Ever. I saw him in the hall attending to rooms all day, and at 1:30 am, 3:30 am, 5:30 am! (I had a nit of insomnia and sleeping on the pullout sofa (metal bar across the back) with the 7-year-old - not comfortable. The boys had a tight squeeze in 9187 across the hall. Their attendant, Edwin, was also very accommodating. The room had the two beds that pulled down from the wall and two twin beds made up as a queen. That wasn't going to work, as it was harder to get in and out of the bed on the bottom without smacking your head on the bunk above you. A quick call had the bed converted back to twins under the berths before we got back from lunch. Everyone said the beds were really comfortable. Beware the toilets are vacuums. Close the lid and then press button to flush. Arthritic thumbs got a work-out! Too hard for my 7-year-old. Food Main dining room, table 209, head waiter Asencio, 2nd waiter Alexander B. - both exceptional. Food - superb. There wasn't an item all week that was not cooked to perfection. My FIL found things a bit salty. Lobster tail a bit rubbery. The kids loved everything - especially the escargot. The French bread was just like fresh baguettes in France. We didn't' try any of the specialty restaurants because we didn't feel the need to. My 15-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter went with the teen club to Qsine for the second formal night. For an upcharge of $25 each. They were very impressed with the 9-course meal, ordering on iPad's and Rubik's cubes. They didn't like that it took more than 2 hours, though. We ate lunch at the buffet - which was GREAT! We stayed away from anything raw (signs right there saying food-borne illness comes from eating raw and undercooked food ), so we stayed away. Plenty of choices for everyone. Younger kids ate a lot of pizza. And ice cream - "Enjoy!" We did not buy a beverage package, instead getting $200 onboard credit which we used towards the gratuity bill. Glad we did that. We brought four bottles of wine onboard (you're allowed two per cabin. However, the confiscated my corkscrew when we boarded. Good thing two bottles were screw off, and we got two bottles of champagne onboard (free). My FIL purchased 2 or 3 bottles with dinner, and drinks a la carte. Much more cost efficient than the alcohol beverage package. I must say that the self-serve drinks weren't great. We brought water bottles (which I refilled at the MDR, and also a case of bottled water. It made for heavy baggage, but worth it (especially at night). Entertainment Very good. Celebrity Theater had all good performers. I can't believe how many routines those dancers have to memorize! The kids came to some shows -and they enjoyed them too - especially the illusionist. A lot of the entertainment started after 10:30, which is too late for those of us that have to get the kids to bed. Gombay dancers came onboard the ship while docked - so there was no need to go into town Wednesday night. I enjoyed the Gombay dance contest (I won! Yay, me.). Activities Plenty to do. I enjoyed the twice daily Zumba (good job, Pamela!). I'm a ZUMBA instructor myself, so I know she was good. White dance party, I supplied the glow bracelets - they should next time. Trivia - very cute. Gym Hubby and I worked out a lot. A little unsettling with the rocking of the ship. Just Monday morning was crowded. The rest of the trip there were plenty of machines available. Not a lot of room to do free weights, though. We took advantage of the walking track on the 11th deck every morning except while in port. Pools Hubby and I enjoyed the thelossotherapy pool inside. Warm salt water (keep out of eyes though). Younger kids enjoyed the one pool kids are allowed in - but it was freezing!! Needed to warm up in the hot tubs. Everything was always getting cleaned and tidied. Everything looked fresh - lots of new looking cushions. Teen Club/ Fun Factory Kids LOVED teen club (X Club) - shout out to Mikola!! Made friends they'll probably have for a while. Never saw those kids except at dinner time. Then they were off until 1:30 am! Fun Factory - pretty good. My 9-year-old son did everything, the 11-year-old son not so much. Shout out to Carlo! 7-year-old wanted no part of it. Oh, well, she liked the pool. We didn't partake of the spa, casino, revelations or rendezvous lounges except for trivia. Or martini bar, Michael's lounge. We tried not to spend any extra money. Bermuda Amazing how the color of the water changes as you get closer to Bermuda. The kids fascinated by this. Pretty cool for me too. That's when the balcony comes in handy. We slept with the door open since it was beautiful, sunny, warm (but cool at night) and not humid. A great time of year to go to Bermuda. Water was warm (83 degrees) Regretfully, the ships are docked at Royal Dockyards which is either a 45-minute ferry ride to St. George or 25-minute ferry ride to Hamilton or one-hour bus ride (of terror) to Hamilton. The last departing ferries from these places is a 5:15. For the night. We bought 3-day bus/ferry passes when we got off the ship. They only take CASH!! Nothing like spending all your cash the moment you disembark. Could have gotten away with the 2-day, as no one wanted to leave the ship on Friday, and there really isn't any time to do anything except at the Dockyards. Beaches were overrun with cruise passengers - leaving behind all their trash. Disgusting. Tobacco Bay pretty from a distance, full of trash up close. Church Bay, great climbing rocks and snorkeling. Tiny beach area, and no amenities. Horseshoe Bay, lots of amenities, fine sand, lots of people, but manageable. Couldn't stay there long at all because we had so little time that day if we wanted to get to Hamilton before that last ferry left. Snorkel Beach okay, wear swim shoes. And then the trip back to Bayonne... On the way to Bermuda we experienced "moderate" seas. So moderate that me and some kids had to leave the MDR(rear of ship) during the meal because they got dizzy. We were all Bonine-d and Dramamine-d, Sea-Banded and lavender oiled, ginger gummed-up. Fine. Friday, upon leaving, Captain Leonardos(seemed nice)said we are heading into "rough" seas. Great. Friday night for the formal night was fine. That night, the wind was howling and that ship was rocking. Hubby and I did our usual morning work-out and breakfast. Getting back to the cabin, we found 7-year old vomiting and the boys dizzy. We got them to the 4th deck midship ASAP. Not pleasant. Barf bags everywhere. You could hear people getting sick around you. That 4th deck filled up fast. Gross. I ran out of children's Dramamine. The ship just stocks meclizine (which is just for ages 12 and up). The entire ship ran out of ginger ale. So bring plenty of each of these with you. So many of the crew were sick that all of the days events were canceled. Eventually Captain Leonardos slowed down the ship. That was around 3 pm. The damage had been done to everyone's appetite. So much for afternoon tea. The rest of the ride back was okay. Disembarking We waited what seems like a long time. We had to be out of the cabin by 8. Poor Shubert waiting for us to leave, to get the cabin ready for the next cruisers. We were let off around 9:40. Customs pretty quick. Crazy in the parking lot with people departing and arriving at the same time. Overall Great ship. Lots of activities for any age (probably not under 5). Food great. Clean, not super-crowded. Don't go if you get seasick. It kinda ruins stuff.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
For the price of the cruise per night I could have stayed in a 5 star hotel. .First the ship needs some refurbishing in the staterooms. Furniture was all nicked, the coach was stained. the Balcony was full of rust and paint spots. I found ... Read More
For the price of the cruise per night I could have stayed in a 5 star hotel. .First the ship needs some refurbishing in the staterooms. Furniture was all nicked, the coach was stained. the Balcony was full of rust and paint spots. I found the entertainment to be terrible. Any of the so called pool parties etc. were only 1 hour. Every where you went there was another camera in your face or a ship employee putting arms around you, even when you asked not to be photographed they were insistent. Stateroom was cramped, the bed vibrated the entire cruise and we were on the 10th deck can't imagine what the people below felt. Air conditioning worked when it felt like. Never met my stateroom attendant. Requested an ash tray and waited two days. Called room service and the average wait for an answer was well over 10 minutes. Mixed drinks were awful unless you asked for premium liquor and paid extra for it. Food was not even a step up from cafeteria quality. /All in all the food was awful whether in the dining room or cafe. Sada plan was an absolute joke they made it very inconvenient for you to fill the container they gave you and the container was clumsy to carry around. The pool decks were extremely slippery, pool water cold. I think this should be called a low budget cruise. I will never cruise with them again and a matter of fact this was my first and last cruise with them or anyone else. Sailed for 39 hours to spend 27 hours at Bermuda and sailed another 39 hours what a waste. The port Kings Wharf was a dead port of call. There was nothing open after 4:30pm. I sat on my balcony at a resort location at 8:30pm and saw darkness. You really could not get a beach day and see the island terrible. I could do more at home than on the ship. Worst call was after we sailed out of Cape Liberty late by over a half hour we went to sea for 2 and a half hours to only turn around and go back to drop off a sick patient because the family had no insurance for a chopper lift off and they wanted to go with the patient. Wouldn't it have been cheaper for the cruise line to pick up the tab for the chopper instead of spending thousands more to bring the ship back? Makes you wonder if we pay for that cost. Room service sent free juice every morning except the 4Th day of the cruise they informed me there was a charge. Feel we lost time in Bermuda and the cruise line did nothing to compensate you for it. In ending this cruise was a nightmare! NEVER AGAIN!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
We drove to Cape Liberty from Binghamton, NY which took about 3 hours and were surprised at how efficient the boarding process was. Since we were first time cruisers we really didn't know what to expect. I think we arrived, ... Read More
We drove to Cape Liberty from Binghamton, NY which took about 3 hours and were surprised at how efficient the boarding process was. Since we were first time cruisers we really didn't know what to expect. I think we arrived, parked our car, unloaded our luggage and arrived on the ship all within about 45 minutes time. As we made our way toward the Windjammer for lunch I was amazed out how large the ship was and the Royal Promedade was absolutely amazing! Upon arriving to our Balcony Stateroom I found a piece of my luggage outside someone else's stateroom which was a bit scary to me. Thank goodness I found it. Our stateroom was small but it suited our needs fine. The two beds pushed together made for a very large bed and I would have loved to take home the linens because they were so luxurious to me! I was so happy we got the balcony because I was able to enjoy the sunset and ocean breeze and I remember feeling sorry for those who didn't have a balcony. The first night was insanely rocky and the captain said we were experiencing 20 foot waves. Many people got seasick despite taking medicine (myself included) and I didn't even sleep the whole first night. I thought the nightmare would never end. But by SUnday afternoon the Atlantic was calm and peaceful and it was like a completely different experience. From that point on I had the time of my life! We chose my time dining and at in the Columbus dining room 4 out of 5 nights. Our Assistant waiter Reuben made our dining room experience very enjoyable as he remembered our names and our preferences. The food certainly wasn't the greatest I've ever had but there were a few things in the dining room that I absolutely loved! The lobster bisque was delicious and the Berry Mousse was great too! The duck was dry and forgettable. We also bought a 5-bottle wine package which suited us well because we ordered a different bottle each evening. We took one bottle home with us. You can order the wine and dinner and take it back to your state room if you want to as well. We ate at Portofino one night as well and that was where we had the greatest experience! The seafood was excellent and the service was impeccable. The desserts were scrumptious and they gave us an extra dessert because it was our anniversary. We also recieved an extra dessert in the main dining room one night because it was our anniversary. For this cruise we also pre-ordered the Ultimate Romance Package II which included hors d'ovres before supper each day and chocolate covered strawberries before bed each day as well as spa treatments, robes, etc. It was worth it and I would recommend it to anyone looking for that extra bit of romance. The spa was exceptional and relaxing. The shows were awesome and our favorite was the "Love & Marriage" Game show. Don't miss it but don't bring the kids... "The Quest" Game show was hilarious and again an adult-only event. We can not speak about the quality of kids-only entertainment because we didn't bring our kids but the arcade and teen only area was pretty cool. Every where we went it seemed there was something to do or maybe a piano player to listen to in one of the lounges. We tried Johnny Rockets for lunch one day and were not overly impressed with it but they do serve all you can eat fries! We ate at the windjammer for breakfast alot and were pretty satisfied with the convenience of being about to grab and go! I didn't order a water package or soda package and was happy I didn't because water is available in the windjammer and I didn't order enough soda to make a package worth the price. Our cruise back home was calm and quiet and disembarking was just as efficient as embarkation was. I will sail with Royal Caribbean again and I will go to Bermuda again someday. We are planning on sailing on one of the newer ships next time but Explorer was beautiful and well-kept and we would recommend it to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
We just got back from a 5 day cruise on explorer of the SEAS!! It was myself, my husband, and 2 friends(whom are also married.) Being a first time cruiser, i had no idea what to expect, so the first day I was EXTREMELY NERVOUS!!! We sailed ... Read More
We just got back from a 5 day cruise on explorer of the SEAS!! It was myself, my husband, and 2 friends(whom are also married.) Being a first time cruiser, i had no idea what to expect, so the first day I was EXTREMELY NERVOUS!!! We sailed out of Cape Liberty, and the PORT WAS AN EXPERIENCE. One of the porters told us they usually have 15 guys from Homeland security, but this particular day they had 5!! (I really felt safe after that). Anyway, it was complete Mayham as people were were trying to get on the boat. Once inline, the process went pretty easy, it was long, but easy. ONLINE CHECK IN IS ADVISABLE!! Anyway, we get through all off that and arrive on the boat. Security was a breeze, actually a little two easy, but i digress. Our room was small of course, but pretty nice for an interfior cabin. They look much better in person than on the website. After we went to our room, we went to the windjammer for the lunch buffet.Due to my bad nerves, i couldnt eat much, so i popped a dramamine and watched my hubby eat. The staff on this boat made my fears COMPLETELY DISAPPEAR!! By the second day we were FULL PLEDGED CRUISERS!! We docked in Bermuda for 2 days, and IT RAINED!! However, its Beautiful and verything is easily accesible. WE ate in the main dining room ONCE, the windjammer was where we spent our time, although the food could have been better. Johnny Rockets was good, b ut you pay. The Mystery dinner theater advetised, DONT EXIST. HOWEVER, THE DRINKS WERE AMAZING and so was the ENTERTAINMENT! JIMMY the CRUISE DIRECTOR IS THE BEST AND PLEASE DONT MISS A SHOW!! The marraige game show and the Quest game show was the highlight of our cruise! I think we will be known as the cruise with "VAN-MAN"...INSIDER!! lol. The Chamber is a good place to party after hours, and the boats activities is NEVER CROWDED! NOW, our stateroom attendant was NOT GOOD. Her name was Maricca and she just wasnt good. We got no discharge directions, no cruise compass, toilet wouldnt flush more than once, and THEY LOST OUR PICS!! Water is like MONEY ON THIS BOAT!! They want you to buy theirs. And this morning, MAricca who couldnt be reached through out the cruise knocked loudly yelling my husbands name @ 8:30 saying, "Time to go, hurry up gotta clan room!! Are you kidding??? We took our time, and arrived at our meting dstination @ 9:30, afterwards leaving the port, and going through customs took 20 MINUTES TOPS!!!!!!! BIG diffrence FROM ARRIVAL. All in ALL, my eyes watered as we went to our cars...reality hit. No more shows, drinks, food and good company. I really missed the fun, just watch out for CERTAIN THINGS. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
Since this was our first cruise, my husband and I loved the idea of sailing out of Bayonne, since we live in new jersey.the itinerary also seemed perfect, plenty of time at sea with three full days. We have been looking forward to ... Read More
Since this was our first cruise, my husband and I loved the idea of sailing out of Bayonne, since we live in new jersey.the itinerary also seemed perfect, plenty of time at sea with three full days. We have been looking forward to our cruise which we booked last winter, the 7 night to Bermuda was the perfect choice ,we loved sailing out of cape liberty as we live in new jersey and the itinerary was perfect with four days at sea and three days in Bermuda. Embarkation and disembarkation was truly a breeze, they seem to have it all figured out. Could not have been happier with our choice to go with Celebrity, ship was lovely, service excellent,best we ever experienced, our cabin was small, but very well designed and comfortable, we went with veranda and really enjoyed sitting put and taking in the view. Food was overall excellent, a bit disappointed with the mdr, but the two nights we dined at the Norman die, the specialty restaurant, the food was delicious . We also loved the food at the aqua Spa cafe for breakfast and lunch. One of my favorite spots was the European cafe', delicious pastries, tea sandwiches with lovely live musical entertainment many times during the day. The evening entertainment was quite enjoyable, there was a comedian, wonderful violinist along with the celebrity cast doing your basic broadway review (at times it seemed a bit amateurish). Everyone we met on the ship seemed as happy as we were and agreed the crew was one of the best... Bermuda was lovely, we had not been there in over 25 years and enjoyed our three days there. We did our own thing and shared a taxi and got a wonderful tour of the island, next day took the ferry to St. George, also spent some time at tobacco bay beach. Through cruise critic we got invitations for a bridge tour and galley tour of the kitchen. Both were excellent, thank you cruise critic! We enjoyed our trip so much we are actually considering doing the same cruise next year.. This ship is going into dry dock and will be getting a " face lift", next year, would be great to sail on her next year, but hope the" old girl" doesn't change too much because she's a gem.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
A great cruise on the Explorer of the Seas. It was our first time sailing and honestly, I had no idea what to expect.Key things- Amazing staff. From the people who wash the deck to the cruise director, I only encountered people in two ... Read More
A great cruise on the Explorer of the Seas. It was our first time sailing and honestly, I had no idea what to expect.Key things- Amazing staff. From the people who wash the deck to the cruise director, I only encountered people in two areas that were less than fantastic (rock climbing guy had a chip on his shoulder and the people in the photo area are brutal).Food was FANTASTIC in the dining room and for buffet food, it was top notch in the Windjammer.Fantastic, friendly and capable bar service.I would honestly say the only things I did not like about this cruise were the rock climbing people, the photo people and I did notice there were some areas that let you know this ship is no spring chicken. She's showing her years. Water is a sneaky enemy and it finds itself getting in places you don't want it to be. That said, Explorer of the Seas is a fantastic boat. Her staff are top notch (I have been to Disney twice in the past two years and the staff on the Explorer are even more friendly than Disney's).If you are looking for a reasonable price on a great cruise, Explorer of the Seas is a great value that you will be sure to enjoy.Happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
This was our first ever cruise so we got some tips from my parents who have been on quite a few cruises and from reading the stuff here. My wife and I just wanted to get away without the kids so my parents watched our 4 children for the ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise so we got some tips from my parents who have been on quite a few cruises and from reading the stuff here. My wife and I just wanted to get away without the kids so my parents watched our 4 children for the week and we left Saturday night and stayed at a Fairfield Inn in Avenel NJ. We tried to go to Cape Liberty Sat night just to see how to get there but our Gps took us on a tour of Bayonne. We did find the dock after driving around so we had no problem on Sunday am finding the terminal. We got to the terminal shortly after 11am (even though out printout said to board at 2) We unloaded our luggage and i parked the car (133 bucks) and we checked in the Concierge Class line which was empty and then filled out health forms and did the on board credit card account and went through the pictures and then into the holding area for 10 minutes or so. We then got on shuttle bus to go to ship. On the ship and up to 10 for buffet lunch. We got into our cabins around 1 or 130. We had a bottle of bubbly waiting for us, flowers in the room, robes, and a great view of the NYC skyline and Statue of Liberty. Also view of the man on the refueling barge with no shirt and plumbers crack. We went up to deck 11 to watch us sail away. Food was good at buffet/pool. Food above grade in MDR our waiter and assistant (Moreno and Omar) were awesome. Ate a Normandie the last night and it was very good. Breakfast was great at the buffet but the potato selection was terrible (no taste and either overcooked or undercooked). We were not sure about eating with other people as both of us are introverted until we get to know people. Our table was great and we made new friends with our table-mates. we sat and talked and we were always the last table in the MDR to leave. Even the last night we ate at normandie (at 8) our MDR was 830 so we got done and went to MDR to spend the last night with our table. So give it a shot. The ship did a good job of matching us up. Did get some desserts at Cova Cafe on 5. They were good. Sushi at buffet at 530pm is good too. But dinner at buffet was the same every night (at least change up the Indian food). Plenty to do on ship. Went to a few of the astronomers lectures. One of the engineers gave a presentation on ships propulsion and power. I took a tour of the bridge. (i am a nerd). We went to see 2 shows and they were very good. The music overall was good. The pool was too cold for me. We pretty much just relaxed which was good. The trip out we had 1 rough day and on the way home 1 rough day. I do get sea sick but I did alright. (wife spent 2 days pretty much in bed but due to being pregnant and the rough seas didn't help). Although she did not go to dinner with me the one night the Maitre de sent her a room service meal which was very nice. Got the classic non alc package not sure if we broke even or not but nice and convenient to be able to get soda. Ship seems to be in good shape for a older ship. Room decor a little outdated but still clean and safe. bed wasn't the most comfortable but so tired it didnt matter. Only big complaint is too large of a smoking area at pool. the whole left side seemed to be smoking so we tried to avoid that side. but with the wind you could catch a whiff of smoke. Maybe they could make it smaller area or something. The staff on the ship was great. Our cabin steward was awesome and took great care of us. The staff overall was very happy and accommodating. We had been to Bermuda 12 years ago so we really just wanted to go at our own pace. We bought a transport pass (28 bucks for 3 days) so day 1 we went to Hamilton via bus and then got bus to Swizzle Inn for a swizzle and conch fritters. Then walked to Crystal Caves (amazing) then bus back to Hamilton to get bus back to ship. We had a 7pm glass bottom pirate sunset cruise. only 16 people on it and we went to the shipwreck Vixen and saw fish and a sunset. The captain and mate gave us a bunch of info about the island. Had dinner at Bone Fish in dockyard (good). Day 2 we did the shipwreck snorkel over the Montana and Constellation. that was cool. Had lunch on ship and then bus to Church Bay to snorkel some more (rented equip from guys on beach). bus back to ship for dinner. Day 3 bus to Gibbs Hill lighthouse.Then to Dockyard to shop and lunch at Frog and Onion (fish and chips yummy). Ship pulled out at 430pm and Captain Costas let us go on helipad. then sailing home and docked at Liberty at 730ish.We were number 27 and set to get off at 940am. we got off at 930 and got luggage and went through customs and were in car at 1015am. We would do this again and sail this ship again. We really were impressed by professionalism of staff and the maintenance of ship. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
Background: This was my 13th cruise (10th on RCCL) while it was my boyfriend's first cruise. We're both in our late 20s. We took this cruise as a birthday/graduate school graduation present to ourselves. We have mostly traveled ... Read More
Background: This was my 13th cruise (10th on RCCL) while it was my boyfriend's first cruise. We're both in our late 20s. We took this cruise as a birthday/graduate school graduation present to ourselves. We have mostly traveled together within the US and this was my boyfriend's first time leaving the country (if this can even count!). The ports we visited were Bermuda, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and San Juan. Port/Check In: Do NOT follow your GPS directions! Ours was convinced the ship was all over the place, except where it actually was. Thankfully, we could see the ship for quite some time and finally found the parking lot. The drop off area can be congested. We arrived around 12:15 (which was later than we had originally planned) and were glad we got lost and were late. We ended up at the very last drop off spot and had to wait a few minutes for a porter to spot us to take our luggage. It did seem like there were a few stragglers still leaving from the previous week's cruise which could have added to the confusion trying to get a porter to help us. I did the unthinkable and decided I was going to try to get a case of soda onboard. I do not drink any of the soda that you can get with the package, otherwise, I would have just done that (and that is what the boyfriend did). I was fully aware that there was a chance it would not make it onboard but I figured, what's $4 anyway? I wrapped the case in clear tape ALL the way around (I didn't want it to break on someones' luggage) and just stuck two luggage tags on it and off it went with the porter. A few hours later, it was in our room. We were able to do priority check-in, as I am diamond, but it seemed like the regular line was going much quicker, as they had more staff available. The woman directing people to the correct line did not seem convinced I was diamond even though it said on my Setsail pass that I was...oh well. Once checked in, we were able walk right on board, as there was no one else in the waiting area. Ship: I have been on the Explorer 2 times prior to this one (as well as two other Voyager-class ships) and as always, I'm instantly impressed once onboard. It's hard to believe the Explorer is over 10 years old. Everything was clean. Sure, the ship could use a new coat of paint on the outside, but cruising up and down the East coast takes a toll with the ever-changing weather. There were a LOT of passengers with walkers or scooters so this would often cause the elevators to be slow or full. We ended up walking to avoid having to wait a long time. Seating in the theater wasn't an issue if you got there 10-15 minutes prior to the start of the show. Most times we just sat up in the balcony instead of trying to find two seats together on the first level. There were a lot of people who were saving multiple seats for friends or family who weren't there yet, but you get that anywhere. What can you do? They did have a section reserved for gold card holders at both the theater and on the pool deck, but it was never filled. It's too bad they don't open up the extra seats once the show starts instead of leaving all those seats empty. Finding a chair on deck was never an issue (unless you wanted to sit in the shade) as long as you went up on the top deck. We often wouldn't be up on deck until after 10:30 or 11 am and always found two chairs together. They did have staff going around and removing towels on any chairs that were empty after 20-30 minutes but I only saw this happen a few times as most people took their stuff when they went to get lunch, etc. Room: We had an interior room on Deck 6, which we booked as a guarantee at an incredibly low price! If we had the choice again, we would book another guarantee. We didn't tend to spend a lot of time in the room so this worked perfect for us. I took a peak into the promenade rooms and our set up (bed facing the door, couch between the bed and bathroom) made the room seem a lot bigger than the promenade rooms, which had the bathroom, bed facing the wall, then the couch. We only had one room next to us, with the stateroom attendants' closet on the other side but we never had any noise issues. Occasionally you could hear kids running up and down the hall on Deck 7, but nothing on our deck. We got towel animals every other night, for a total of 4 during our 9 night cruise. And yes, we did have washcloths! Staff: All the staff seemed to really love their jobs. They were very friendly, always saying hello, and asking how your day went. We had one charge on our account from our mini bar even though we never used it, and the Guest Relations staff took care of it without any questions asked. MDR: The only downfall was that our waiter and assistant waiter didn't seem to be able to coordinate with each other. Often times we'd get our meal and it would be 15-20 minutes before the assistant waiter would come over with toppings (sauce for the shrimp cocktails, cheese for the pasta, etc). I was under the impression from a few comments that this was their first time working together and/or they were both new to working on RCCL. Because of this, we often were the last ones in the dining room and dinner took closer to 2 or 2.5 hours. Thankfully, we had a good group of tablemates and enjoyed dinner. In regards to evening wear, we saw everything from jeans, hats, tshirts and flipflops on formal night, to very elegant formal wear. We tend to like to dress up and did every night, but I would guess only about 60-70% of the people did, even on formal night. It was a little disappointing when we were putting in the effort to dress nicely, as if we were at a nice restaurant and obviously some people thought they were at their local McDonalds, but such is life. We didn't let it ruin our dining experience. Food: Food is very subjective, but we sat at a table for 8 in the MDR for the first seating and collectively struggled each night to find something off the menu. Our ages ranged from late 20s to mid 60s and we were all surprised at some of the things being offered. If you are a big seafood fan, you will probably be happy to see that there is almost always a shrimp or scallop entrEe on the menu. Unfortunately, I don't eat seafood a lot and did not want to eat it every night. The chicken and steak that are offered as alternatives every night were much better than most of the daily entrees. I missed a lot of the desserts that they used to have (the sugar free swan, baked Alaska, etc). The sugar free desserts ended up being tastier than their regular counterparts. I did try most of the cold soups and I would highly recommend them (except the lettuce and I think it was cucumber). A few people at our table had the mustard-custed steak and asked for seconds and thirds they liked it so much. The Windjammer had a lot of great breakfast options, and there was never really any line to get an omelet in the morning, which my boyfriend did almost every day. Again, always smiling staff asking if they can get you anything to drink, or clean your table right away. In terms of lunch, neither of us were really impressed with anything. It seemed to be pretty much the same thing every day (with the leftovers from dinner the previous night) but we certainly didn't go hungry! We splurged one day and got the Ben & Jerry's ice cream and it was fabulous. I also enjoyed the frozen yogurt that was always available up on the pool deck outside the Windjammer (the strawberry is the best). Apple juice, orange juice, flavored water (flavors variety throughout the week) for breakfast. Iced tea (nonsweetened) and lemonade, as well as the flavored water were available in the Windjammer for lunch. Milk, iced tea and lemonade were also available in the MDR for dinner. We never had dinner in the Windjammer but a couple at our table did and they said they preferred that to the MDR (they weren't the dress up for dinner and have it take 2 hours type). Bermuda: I had only been to Bermuda once years ago on a cruise out of Boston and was really looking forward to going back. Unfortunately, once we got to Horseshoe Beach, it started to rain. We ended up only staying for about 2 hours before we gave up with the rain and wind. We took the bus there and back and had ZERO issues. We had to wait less than 5 minutes to get the bus from the dock and then had to wait about 10 minutes to get the bus from the beach. For $4 each one way, it was a LOT cheaper than us taking a cab (which would have cost probably closer to $15 per person one way!) The buses were air conditioned and clean with plenty of seats for everyone. St. Maarten: We decided to venture over to the airport and Maho Beach. For anyone who has NOT experienced this, I totally recommend going just once. If you don't know what I am talking about put "Maho Beach St. Maarten" into YouTube. After being blasted by sand for a few hours, we decided to head back into town and boy, am I glad we left when we did! It took us over an hour and a half to go what should have taken 15-20 minutes. They are doing construction on a bridge on the island, which forces everyone to go on one road and traffic is horrendous. The taxi driver said this was typical from 2 pm until 8 pm at night EVERY SINGLE DAY. He said the bridge work has been happening for a month and they expect it to take another 4-6 weeks. Thankfully our boat didn't leave until 9 pm so we made it back in plenty of time. Given that we were in port from 12 noon until 9 pm, it didn't leave a lot of time to go to the beach and go shopping. The shops closed around 6 pm so that is also something to take into consideration if your ship is docked until 9 pm. We ate at Johnny Rockets that night since we had a 2 for 1 milkshake in our diamond booklet and my boyfriend has never been to one. Given that for $4.95 it's all you can eat (with drinks costing extra) we definitely got our $4.95 worth of food. They kept on bringing over fries and o-rings without us ever asking. St. Thomas: We went to Emerald Beach, which is part of the Best Western Hotel. There is free access to the beach, you can use their bathroom facilities, rent beach chairs ($7) or umbrellas, and there is a restaurant/bar on site. The beach was absolutely beautiful, but zero snorkeling. We stayed there for a few hours before heading into town. It's nice that this beach is close by and not as popular as Magen's Bay or Sapphire Beach, but just as beautiful (in my opinion!). We did some shopping in town and almost every store had some kind of sale going on. If you are looking to shop, St. Thomas is the place to do it! San Juan: We were only in this port from 7 am until 12:30 pm. Our plan was to go to the forts which are just a few minutes walk from the dock. We got to the first fort around 8:15 to find out that nothing really opens until 9 am so we spent most of our time waiting for the fort to open. Once we left there around 11, there wasn't too much time to explore the downtown area, which, if you have been there before, you know we didn't miss out on much. Everyone we talked to (passengers, staff, etc) agree that being in San Juan for that amount of time was a huge waste since there isn't enough time to leave the city and explore the much more beautiful parts of Puerto Rico. I was shocked at how openingly the staff expressed annoyance at this port and my guess is that they are even more limited on having time off the ship. Everyone agreed that more time in St. Thomas would have been a much better option. Entertainment/Activities: RCCL definitely tried to offer something for everyone with the nightly entertainment. The evening shows included two RCCL singers and dancers show (the 2nd one was far better than the 1st), a late night "adult" comedian, a motown group, a very talent man who could play piano but was outshined by the RCCL band, a juggler who was on America's Got Talent, another comedian who played the guitar, and of course, the ice show. Do not miss the ice show. It was excellent! It's amazing what they can do on such a small rink in the middle of the ocean. This was offered 3 times throughout the week but you do need to get tickets the day they offer them - I believe it was the first sea day - and they weren't offered any other times during the week. The RCCL singers and dancers also preformed at various activities throughout the week, including during the late night BBQ/Buffet/On Deck Dance Party, which has replaced the Midnight Buffet. There were also two parades during the week. One was held the first night around 11:30 pm and we missed it, and the 2nd was held the last day at 5:45 pm. I remember that these used to last over a half hour and be very good but the one at 5:45 was less than 10 minutes long and to be honest, kind of lame. They had a few people walk up and down the promenade in their costumes, while the singers sang a few songs but that was it. Nothing like it used to be! Hopefully the first night was much better so I would recommend trying to see that one. There was also karaoke a few nights (the machine was broken at the beginning of the cruise but they got it fixed after a few days!), the normal "game" shows like Love and Marriage, Quest, Battle of the Sexes, etc. RCCL also now partners with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to do a one-mile walk on one of the sea days (ours was the last sea day) and for those of you who don't know anything about Make-A-Wish, I would recommend looking them up. My family was fortunate enough to be a "wish family" years ago, and I am sooooo happy to see RCCL partnering with them! For only $10, you can get a t-shirt and do a one-mile walk (or just watch other people walk around the deck) and all the money goes towards the organization. It costs $5000 for one wish to be granted to a sick child, and during our cruise, over $3000 was raised. The captain, cruise director and a few other members of the crew also come out and do the walk with the passengers and it was a great time. Cruise Director/Staff: The current Cruise Director is Jimmy Rhodes. He was HILARIOUS! I have never had more of an outgoing CD in all my previous cruises. His Activities Manager, Leigh, was also fantastic and the two of them working together was just amazing. If they are still working together on your cruise, you MUST watch their "Morning Show" which is played over and over on the TVs. My bf and I would watch this every day and laugh the entire time. The two of them were also EVERYWHERE on the ship...there was not an activity, or event I didn't see one of them at. Meet & Mingle event: This was my first time actually attending the M&M event and I was actually pretty impressed. The invitations were in our stateroom upon our arrival and kudos to Cruise Critic for designing such a great invitation (I'm in marketing and even I was impressed!). The timing of the event wasn't very good (10 am on our first sea day even though ahead of time on CC we were told it was at 11 am) so I understand why a lot of people probably didn't make it. If I had known there was going to be food, I probably wouldn't have JUST eaten breakfast. There were quite a few prizes given away at the M&M including wine, internet credit, in-room movies (which we won but never found the time to use), specialty restaurant certificates, and excursions. It was nice to put faces and "real" names to people we had been chatting with over the past few months. Diamond Perks: This was my first cruise being diamond, but since it was my bf's first cruise, he didn't get any of the same perks as me. We did get two of the welcome abroad gift baskets (pretty lame, we never ate anything out of them) as well as two bottles of water. I got the diamond booklet but most of it involved spending extra $$ to get a small percentage off, so I only used a few things, like the free internet minutes and free photo. I unfortunately didn't attend the "Top Tier Event" or the nightly cocktail events. The "Top Tier Event" invitation said that it was a "special" ice show, but I got the invitation AFTER I had already seen the regular ice show. Even if my bf had been allowed to go with me, I don't think I would have gone to see the same show again. They were checking my card when I was using the coupons to make sure I was actually diamond, so I didn't think it would make sense to try to get my bf into any of the diamond events. Everything clearly stated that no friends or family would be allowed and I wasn't going to make a big deal out of it. I did get my robe in my room which I really enjoy as I HATE getting dressed right after a shower and those towels are never big enough. Disembarkation: This being my first cruise out of NJ, I was shocked to find out how late they would start letting people off! When cruising out of FL, we often would book flights home around 11:30, or 12 pm, since everyone tends to be "kicked" off the ship by 8-9 am. This time, we didn't dock until after 8 am, and the self-debark passengers weren't announced to start leaving until after 8:30-845. We were in group 4 and weren't called off until close to 9:30. We had a long drive ahead of us back to Boston, so we were happy to finally be on our way. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
I should start by saying that this cruise was the start to our Honeymoon. 5 days followed by 3 days in New York City. It was everything I could have hoped for and more. We arrived at Cape Liberty on the 9th of April at 1:15PM. The process ... Read More
I should start by saying that this cruise was the start to our Honeymoon. 5 days followed by 3 days in New York City. It was everything I could have hoped for and more. We arrived at Cape Liberty on the 9th of April at 1:15PM. The process was so simple. We dropped off our luggage and headed to the long term parking lot. This process was seamless. Once in the port we stood in what seemed to be a long line up. The line moved very fast and we were on the ship by 2PM. Amazing. Our stateroom was a Promenade room. When we booked the trip we were concerned with motion sickness so we opted for an interior room. The room was bigger than I thought it would be. Good size bathroom and closet. They say the bed is a queen but it was more like a king. We had a large window that looked down on to the Royal Promenade. Close to elevators. It was perfect. Our stateroom attendant was FANTASTIC. I honestly cannot say enough about her. Our room was spotless and she took requests for towel animals. I asked for a turtle and she said she had never done one but she would try. There was a towel turtle when I returned to my room that night. We only ate in the Windjammer. Didn't have any meals in the Dining room. Wasn't in the mood to get formal. The food was really good. Breakfast was amazing. Lots of fresh fruit. They had a Mongolian Grill at dinner time. If you were patient enough to stand in line it was totally worth it. We are not really drinkers so we bought the pop (soda) package. It was totally worth it. Seems like a lot of money to pay at once but it really was worth it. The Promenade cafe was great for snacks. Pizza and sandwiches and baked goods. The Peanut butter cookies are delish! The coffee is not great but it is bearable. I still drank it. All in all the food was excellent and was always fresh and hot. Next time I think we will try the dining room for a change of scenery. Bermuda was beautiful. We had amazing weather. It was hot and sunny. Getting off and on the ship was pretty easy. The stop for the city bus was only a few minutes away by foot or a trolley. The bus drivers are a little crazy but they are very helpful and tell you exactly where you are. A lot of people on our ship rented mopeds. I know of several people who were injured and had to go to the hospital. You can also rent a Segway. The bus was more my pace. Shopping in Bermuda is very expensive. We bought some souvenirs but nothing else. We love games and trivia. We played bingo a few times and played in most of the trivia games. Lots of fun. The shows were excellent. The Love and marriage game show was hilarious and the name that lyrics game was so fun to watch. The entertainment staff are really nice and friendly and love to have a good time. Our cruise director was sooooo funny. There is so much to do on this ship and we were never bored. We are already looking to book again for next year. Can't wait! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
Joining and participating in cruise critic added so much to our pleasure and enjoyment. We received a lot of help and advice before we boarded. The meet and mingle on board was fun and we've made new friends who we know we'll ... Read More
Joining and participating in cruise critic added so much to our pleasure and enjoyment. We received a lot of help and advice before we boarded. The meet and mingle on board was fun and we've made new friends who we know we'll enjoy spending more time with on future cruises! Meals, snacks: Plentiful, fresh, delicious; often very creative and beautifully presented; always professionally served with care. we appreciated the variety and the healthier options including great quality vegetarian Indian dishes. Entertainment, diversions: There was a very large variety of entertainment options throughout the day and into the evening. Some of the entertainment wasn't our style but there were always so many other options. I played bridge for the first time since university, tried climbing the rock wall (my husband visited the wall several times and enjoyed soaking in the hot tup after midnight several times. We even loved our interior cabin - it was a well equipped, super comfortable nest. There was plenty of room to unpack everything, the king size bed was really comfortable and I was even able to separate the sleeping from the sitting area with a curtain to receive our breakfast room service. Service overall was exceptional. We took the "My Time Dining" option and really enjoyed the flexibility and variety of times, service personnel and dining companions. Our cabin attendant was also excellent. Our room was thoroughly cleaned every morning and then tidied and refreshed every evening. Nice! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
Brief background: my son turns 18 in November and for his birthday present he chose a trip. Thought we (just he and I) would try a cruise. I chose Royal Caribbean specifically because of their children's program - the other lines I ... Read More
Brief background: my son turns 18 in November and for his birthday present he chose a trip. Thought we (just he and I) would try a cruise. I chose Royal Caribbean specifically because of their children's program - the other lines I looked at grouped "teens" as 12-17 yr olds, but RC split it 12-14, and 15-17. They also offered Teen Excursions at port. More on that later. I booked a 5 night on the Explorer of the Seas from Bayonne/Cape Liberty NJ to Bermuda. Boarding: incredibly simple and quick. From drop-off to being on ship was less than 30 minutes. I had all of our paperwork fully completed and had checked in online. I had my passport, my son had driver's license and birth certificate (I know there have been many threads about single parents and traveling - we had no problems). Were on board about 11:30, cabins not ready til 1:30 so it was time to explore! It was great - played a round of mini golf, got my first pina colada of the trip, went to the library for a book and basically got the lay of the land. Cabin: fantastic. No complaints. Sure - the railing could use some paint but I've read some really nit-picking reviews here and I have to say - overall - very good. We had a balcony room and loved it. Tons of storage! Very well laid out cabin. Our cabin steward - Chanel - introduced herself right away and took excellent care of us. It was also very quiet. Sail away was nice - got wonderful pictures of the skyline and the bridge. It was very chilly so didn't stay on deck too long. Food: The food in the MDR - EXCELLENT! I skipped the lobster tail the last night (living at the beach seafood isn't a biggie for me) and got the prime rib - OUTSTANDING! Just like the filet of beef earlier in the cruise it was melt-in-your-mouth tender. Have never had anything nearly as good. The scallop risotto was incredible also. Ate in the MDR 3 nights and had impeccable service from waiter Anthony and asst waiter Jean. Forgot to write down the head waiter's name - but he was excellent as was the "shooter girl." They sang "Happy Birthday" to my son and it was one of the highlights of the trip? The sushi in the Windjammer was very very good as were the desserts. One minor gripe - many of the dishes were missing signs - especially desserts. May not seem like a big deal but I cannot eat artificial sweeteners and there were many sugar-free desserts, but since there was no way of knowing what was "sugar free" and what was full of old-fashioned natural sugar I had to pass on a few. Also, some of the more "exotic" dishes just had the names and a brief description would have been helpful. Little tip: everybody stops at the first station - salad. You can grab a plate and just go to the other stations. My son loved the Cafe Promenade - the pizza and cookies especially, and the croissant sandwiches we both loved. A good place to get coffee and tea 24/7. For breakfast we used room service - loved sitting on the balcony with my Danish and coffee in the morning while my son was in the shower and dressing, then we would switch. We went to Johnny Rockets twice - the chocolate shakes were excellent (and my son works in an ice cream parlor so this is his expert opinion lol). Melvin Reyes is the BEST - when he sings "Stayin' Alive" it made our day. Childrens' program: This was the one HUGE drawback to our trip. As I mentioned earlier, this was our first cruise - we have no loyalty to any cruise line. I chose RC mainly because of the amazing children's program, particularly the fact that they advertised that shore excursions would be organized for the teens. I also needed a vacation and had visions of my son and other teens heading ashore while I enjoyed a massage or checked out some of the seminars or classes. Didn't happen. The first day my son discovered that because of the supposed lack of teens aboard there would be one big group aged 12-17. There were never any excursions mentioned and when I asked at the Guest Relations desk was met with a few blank stares. Did my 17 yr old son want to hang out with 12 yr olds? Nope. But he didn't want to chill with his Mom either.We ended up spending a lot of time at the arcade or walking around the top decks. Finally the 3rd night a few other older teens showed up -apparently they had looked in at the club early on and when they saw the younger kids decided to ditch it. The last two nights were enjoyable for my son but the lack of excursions or activities for the older teens was a sore point. I realize that many parents do not take their kids out of school for vacation in October so I expected the numbers to be low but there were 54 teens aged 12-17 on our cruise, and the following cruise - a 10 day to the Caribbean - had 150+ (according to the Teen Club employee). Even with 54 kids, if a sign up sheet was posted to gauge interest in excursions I am sure there would have been many who would go. Quest: I won't give anything away - it was great fun although there was a family on our team who had played before and it kind of spoiled the fun for us newbies as we couldn't really participate - they knew the secrets already. Shows: The Ice Show was really good, the "Fast Forward" was enjoyable, the comedian was hysterical at his earlier show, I did go back for the late night "adult" show - it was mainly crude sex jokes. I'm not a prude (at all) but thought his earlier show was much smarter and funnier. Port: There was another ship in port the same time as we were and the lines for transportation were the worst I have ever seen. Incredibly disorganized, no signs anywhere advising which line was for St Georges and which was for Hamilton. Very very frustrating.Was ready to give up and go back to the ship after an hour, as many did. Ended up in Hamilton - tourist trap shops - then made our way to St Georges - same thing. Did find the Swizzle Inn - HUGE portions, great service and strong rum swizzles? Had booked the Bermuda Triangle Glass Bottom Boat tour - highly recommend - one of the high points of the trip. Funny, knowledgeable, and really interesting. Great guys!! The second day in port we stayed close at the Royal Naval Dockyard - more touristy stuff. Misc: I did try the Line Dancing class - with 5 other women, 4 were of the retired age. It was a bit disturbing that someone (guests in their early 30's) came in and videotaped us the whole time - was surprised the instructor didn't say anything - I did turn to the camera, smile sweetly and say "I don't want to see this on YouTube!" The art auction - Peter Max - was very good, learned a lot about the artist. The photographer - got a few great pics of my son and I - well worth the $20 each. Thank God for the arcade - kept my son entertained and I beat him in Skee Ball and Guitar Hero. Purell - at the gangway and in front of all food areas. BUT - not in the casino or the arcade - two places it is needed. Elevators - SO SLOW!! Ended up taking the stairs 90% of the time. Disembarking was a breeze - we had a late number/color so stayed in the cabin until 10:30 before making our way down. Overall impressions of Royal Caribbean - to quote my son - Mom, we are both too young for this cruise. Meaning - if he was in his mid-20's and drinking and dancing - great. If I was a more sedate mother (I'm a young 39), then I would have enjoyed playing bridge. I didn't want the "party atmosphere" of Carnival and the Freestyle Cruising of NCL didn't appeal to me. Because of what RC promised in the way of the Teen Programs I chose them but unfortunately in that regard they did not deliver. It was a very enjoyable trip in all other areas but this downside negatively colored the whole experience. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
In June 2010 we were invited to join in by family members making arrangements for a cruise. My husband and I, having never cruised before, decided it would be a great way to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary. Plan Ahead - I guess it ... Read More
In June 2010 we were invited to join in by family members making arrangements for a cruise. My husband and I, having never cruised before, decided it would be a great way to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary. Plan Ahead - I guess it is important to make your arrangements as far advance as possible, to insure your preferred accomodations, however, we found ourselves wishing the summer away from June till our sail date Sept 25. I also found myself watching the weather channel 24 hours a day with all of the huricanes and tropical storms coming off of Africa during this time. Sail Day - Travel to Cape Liberty was so easy as we live less than 1 mile cross town in Bayonne, NJ. One family member had access to a small bus, so we all met Sat afternoon for our 10 minute ride. Upon arrival at Cape Liberty our luggage was quickly unloaded and we followed the crowd to register. It was hard for all members of the family to stay together, but we managed to meet up afterwards. Then we all stayed together to wait for an empty bus that shuttled us to the ship. Explorer of the Seas - What a beautiful sight. The sun was shining, and the sky was blue, and the sight of this magnificent white ship was overwhelming.We found not only the outside, but the inside of the ship was clean and shiney. Accomodations - We had an inside stateroom on deck 10, around mid ship. The room was small, but had plenty of storage, a queen size bed, and a cute little capsule of a shower, which I am sure my husband was tired of hearing me say "beam me up Scottie" everytime I got into it. We never spent that much time in the room, but it was very adequate for us. Dining - We chose the early sitting in the main dining room, which worked out great for us. The only night my husband and I did not eat dinner in the MDR was "formal night" (just not our thing). But that was the beauty of the cruise. You always had choices. We had dinner that night in the Windjammer buffet. I am a very fussy eater, but found a great selection in the MDR and the Winderjammer. Only one night there was nothing on the menu in the MDR that I wanted,( I don't eat seafood) so we ordered the Filet Mignon. This was an extra $14.95 per person, but was delicious. Entertainment - Our choice of entertainment for the most part was Casino Royale, although, we could have been busy 24 hours a day taking advantage of all of the entertainment venues. We are Atlantic City high rollers, and found the casino offered a great choice of table games and slot machines. The casino was only open while the ship was out at sea, not in port at Cape Liberty or Bermuda, but we found plenty of time to hit a few jackpots. Weather - With all of my worrying about huricanes, we experienced beautiful sunshine, with temperatures in the low 80's ever day. Some family members said they ran into 5 minutes of rain on their excursion to Hamilton in Bermuda, but we didn't see it on the ship. The only bad weather we saw was the day we returned to Cape Liberty, and it didn't matter because we were already depressed that the cruise had come to an end. Debarkation - Easy as pie. Put our luggage out the night before. Met all family members in the same location Studio B. Follow the crowd when your letter and number is called. Bus right away from ship to terminal. Pick up luggage, go through customs, and meet everyone at the bus for our 10 minute drive home. Summary - Turn the Ship around. We don't want to go home. What a wonderful experience we had, and we can't wait to go again. One important note- when you are traveling with such a large group (13) of varying ages as we did, it is important to let everyone decide to do things at their own pace. It is great that many family members walked on the bottom of the Atlantic on their helmet dive, explored Bermuda on mopeds, or took a ride on a glass bottom boat.We just enjoyed sitting in the sun by the pool with a couple of pina coladas. But that's the beauty of it, there are so many choices. "HAPPY SAILING" Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
Explorer of the Seas - Sept 25, 2010 Yeah, okay, so after writing this, I realized just how long it was. So for those of you with short attention spans, here's the high points: WE LOVED IT! We wanna do it again soon, and have ... Read More
Explorer of the Seas - Sept 25, 2010 Yeah, okay, so after writing this, I realized just how long it was. So for those of you with short attention spans, here's the high points: WE LOVED IT! We wanna do it again soon, and have already booked our next cruise. The food was great, the pools were fun, the shows ranged from good to awesome, the room was small but good (and my son and I loved the balcony, even though it was small too), and maybe next time we'll see more of Bermuda (but what we saw of it was good, too). Anyway, on to the details. My wife has been on two other Royal Caribbean cruises, and has been on this 5-day Bermuda Explorer cruise on one of them, so we took her word for it that we'd love it, and indeed we did! Got up early (well, earlier than usual) Saturday morning and drove to the dock. We took the advice of folks on the boards, and took the PA turnpike (from Lancaster) to the NJ turnpike, to exit 10, and followed 440 up to the Cruise Port. It was as easy as could be, and we managed it with no trouble at all. 3 hours from home, including a stop for coffee on the NJ turnpike. Arrived at 11:30 at the port, found our way from 440 down to the end of the peninsula, and had no trouble dropping wife and kids off with our bags, despite their still being quite a few people outside just getting off the ship from the previous cruise. We got advice on the Cruise Critic boards to get there around 11:00, and it's good advice, as right after we got up to the desk, the line behind us went from short to long very quickly. After maybe a 10 minute wait, we took the bus over to the ship, and went onboard. The whole boarding process went very smoothly. As it was lunchtime, we went up to the Windjammer for the lunch buffet. As buffets go, the Windjammer is top notch: great selection, and very good quality food. I'd overeaten and made myself ill on vacation a few months prior, and was determined to not repeat the mistake; while Royal made very sure we weren't going to go away hungry, it was very easy to eat both light and healthy onboard the Explorer. After lunch, we did a bit of exploring of the ship (the pictures don't really do it justice; it's BIG), then went to check out our room and drop off our carry-ons. We booked a balcony room, 8516, which is the foremost balcony on deck 8 portside. I'd heard the rooms were small, but while I certainly didn't mind it, putting two adults and a 9 & 13-yr-old into one room was a bit tight, especially at night when the sofa bed was opened into a bed, (not much room to walk around). We also went down to see my sister-in-law's room, which was aft family suite 9694. That was nice sized as a hotel room, and just plain HUGE compared to ours, with two bedrooms, a sitting area, and a balcony which (according to Royal's site) was bigger than our whole room, not to mention having a wonderful view out the rear of the ship. (Okay, enough room-envy.) The pools, up on deck 11, were a nice size (for the number of people in swimming, which considering the time of year, weren't many), and were all clean and in great repair. They drain and refill the pools often? daily? with ocean water, which surprised us all, and slightly annoyed my daughter, as the water stung her eyes a bit. (Of course, she was still in the pools more often than anywhere else on the ship, so it didn't slow her down much.) There were also four hot tubs up on deck, which got more use, and could be difficult to find space in, especially on sea days when many people were poolside. But when we were in them, folks were friendly, and we enjoyed it. Another "feature" of the main pool area was that it was quite windy most of the time. Being 11 decks up and open on the sides, there wasn't much to slow the winds down, which given the nice temps was usually fairly pleasant, although you wouldn't be bringing a deck of cards poolside to play with family. (We did bring Rummikub, a tile game, which worked just fine.) Foreward of the main pool area is the solarium, which is adult-only, so we didn't use it much, but it was also a very nice area, much more quiet than the main pools (which usually had either music playing over the speakers or a live band playing), and less breezy as well. We did use it as a shortcut to the stairs to get to our cabin quite often, though, so we got to see it several times. Aft of the main pools and up a level is the little kids' pool area, with a slide and baby pool. I took my daughter back there, but at 9 years old, she was a bit old to be going there. There were plenty of smaller kids there, and they were all loving it, and my kids would have, too, at that age. And being at the tail of the ship, if you weren't watching the kids, the view off the back was great. So if the pools were my daughter's favorite thing about the ship, the shows were my son's. We went to all of the main shows in the theatre, and the theatre itself was amazing: large enough that everybody who wanted to go could be seated for each show, comfortable seats, wait service for drinks before the shows, and good sound (not too loud, but quite clear). They did an opening show the first night, split between a decent comedian and the cruise director, Chris Northey, telling us about everything to come on the cruise. Another night was a latin song-and-dance show; I'm not too much into dance, but it was fun, and the music was good. Yet another show was movie music, which my wife enjoyed more than the 1st, as she knew the music better. Another show was a juggler, who was very entertaining, (although not that great a juggler). Last night was a comedian, who was clean and hilarious. Chris Northey was a great cruise director. While I rarely saw him outside the theatre, he did a great job hosting the shows. He did a game show called Love & Marriage, a take-off on the old Newlywed Game, except they had one newlywed couple and two older couples; very very funny. He also hosted a cake decorating demonstration with the head chef, which was merely amusing, but still good fun. Then there was the ice show! They have their own ice rink on board, and we got (free) tickets to the show on our 2nd afternoon onboard. Not very heavy on tricks and jumps and such, but very well put together, with the costumes and story and such. All four of us really enjoyed it, and were talking about it for much of the rest of the cruise. And the "guest" skater was pretty amazing, with a number of hula hoop tricks that were just incredible. Against my better judgement, we also did karaoke. Not just went to the show, which was really fun, to watch the great singers as well as the poor ones, but wife and I also sang a song (!). We're average to mediocre, and everyone politely applauded at the end; no humiliation at all. And yeah, there were enough really good singers there to make going worthwhile just to listen. Following karaoke was a No Wrong Answer gameshow, where the most popular answer was the "right" one. Lots of fun to watch and play. So, the ship. Running down the middle of the ship is the Promenade. Maybe a dozen stores, including a duty-free liquor store, jewelry shop, clothing/logo store, a couple of the many bars, etc. This is where the parades and street parties took place, and just a great place to people-watch. And down at the forward end of the promenade is the cafe, where you can get free snacks (pizza, sandwiches, cookies, etc.) as well as drinks (coffee, tea, etc.), and paid-for Seattle's Best coffee and Ben & Jerry's ice cream. I'd heard other cruisers rave about the coconut ranger cookies, and while they were certainly good, my personal favorite was the rum & raisin things. (Gotta figure out how to make them, now that we're back!) And speaking of food, there's the main dining room. We got an assigned table for dinner, and ate there three of our five nights. The food ranged from darn good (some kind of whitefish) to oh-my-gosh-wonderful (lamb shanks one night, lobster the next), with service that was very good by, say, Applebee's standards, and just decent by fancier standards. We didn't do Portofino's while onboard, although we did do Johnny Rockets a couple of times. The deal there is a $5 cover charge per person, which covered food, with milkshakes and sodas extra. We got the peanut butter and chocolate milkshake, which was just awesome the first time, as it had big chunks of PB swimming in the shake (don't EVEN try to drink it with a straw). (Of course, we went back for more later, and it was merely a smooth PB&C shake. Disappointing that it wasn't like before, but still delicious.) Then there were the bars. Prices were around $6-7 per drink, which included gratuity (I hate it when places do that, but what the hey), and were pretty decent. (FYI: I consider myself a middling home bartender, and mix my drinks stronger than the average bar, so feel free to ignore my criticisms here). We loved Dizzy's, and had Prince Charles (that's what his nametag said) take good care of us the whole cruise long, with virgin drinks that the kids loved, and margaritas that we loved. I also hit Crown & Kettle for a Guinness or two, and the Schooner Bar. Yeah, the Schooner Bar. Decent as a bar, but a few times while we were on-board, they had a classical/Flamenco guitarist named Roman Dembitskyy who was just wonderful! (Okay, he dropped a few notes here and there, but compared to the pop-singing chester in Crown & Kettle...?) I made it a point to break off from the wife & kids a few times (i.e. while they were getting ready for other events) and catch parts of his performances, and really enjoyed it. To our slight dismay, our kids didn't really go off to do anything in the kids' activities. They went to the arcade a few times, son (13) for Guitar Hero, and daughter (9) to play skill games and collect all of the crappy little pieces of plastic. But they did enjoy themselves, with daughter's favorite thing, as mentioned, being the pools and beaches, and son's favorite being the shows and the virgin Lava Flows in Dizzy's, and both are looking forward to our next cruise. Oh yeah, the ship actually went somewhere! Bermuda! Almost forgot about that, really, since we were loving the ship so much. We docked in the Dockyard, at the western end of the island, although because of the reefs around Bermuda, we ended up coming in from the eastern end of the island around sunrise, and went past the northern coast of the island, before using the bow-thrusters to spin the ship around and come into the dock. Really fun to watch, especially as our cabin was port-side, which ended up being dock-side as we arrived. (But the view out the starboard side, in port, was equally wonderful, as the island wraps around the ship, so don't feel like you need to be port-side to enjoy the view.) Getting off in Bermuda was quick and painless, sort of. It happened maybe 25 minutes late, but once it started, it went quickly enough, and we were on dry land again. We screwed up a little bit, in that we had wanted to book the zoo excursion for Monday, our first day in port, but goofed and booked it for Tuesday. As it was 24 hours ahead of time, Royal let us cancel the excursion and get a full refund, at which point we went back on shore, and spent a few hours at Snorkel Beach, letting daughter get her fill of the beach. Yeah, Snorkel Beach. We didn't bring snorkels with, so it was mostly wading for wife and I, and some swimming and sand-castle building for son and daughter (mostly daughter). The music was annoyingly loud through the speakers, (and why exactly they were playing techno escapes me), but apart from that, the area was pleasant and clean. We then went back to the ship, and had the place mostly to ourselves, which was much nicer. On board, there was plenty to do. We went mini-golfing a few times; the greens were in fine shape, and the times we were there, there was usually only a few other groups playing, so there were no lines and no wait. My SIL and I also did the rock wall, which was fun, albeit surprisingly tiring. (We had maybe a 15 minute wait for that.) Okay, the mundane: our room. The one place you're not supposed to spend any time while onboard. Well, daughter still wanted to hang out here and watch TV at times, so we ended up back there maybe an hour or two throughout the day. As I mentioned earlier, the room for the four of us was tolerably sized while the sofa bed was a sofa, but cramped at night when the sofa bed was made up. (We've since booked another cruise, with two adjoining interior Promenade cabins, to make sure we have room for us all at night and in the mornings.) But the bathroom was surprisingly nice. It was one-person-at-a-time, to be sure, but everything actually worked! (I'm used to hotels, where something is either poorly maintained or peeling up at the edges, etc., so a well maintained bathroom is just a joy to behold!) And while the water pressure wasn't great (I'm sure they're short enough on fresh water, being in the middle of the Atlantic, and all), it was enough, and I loved the circular showers, with magnetic seals on the doors. (I want one at home! Get rid of the darn curtain!) And I mentioned that we had a balcony. You could only fit a couple of people out there at a time, which tended to be my son and I, and it was surprisingly nice to sit out there and enjoy the sound of the water coming off the bow as we sailed, and the view of the ocean passing by. In the week after we returned, I kept looking out the window at home and at work, and was continually disappointed by the lack of ocean there. A few odds and ends: there were a surprising number of wheelchaired passengers on-board. Everything except our room was nicely accessible, with halls and passageways wide enough to pass any chairs we encountered. (My mom's in a wheelchair, and has been my whole life, and my dad's in one now, too, so I'm a bit conscious of such.) Also, this was my first cruise, but we've already booked another, about a year out, to have to look forward to. On the one hand, I loved sailing out of Bayonne, NJ, as we skipped the whole airport experience (and the attending hassles), but on the other, our next cruise is out of Orlando, and if we have no flight issues, we'll be able to be in the warmer (swimming) weather sooner that way. We'll see which I prefer after #2. Right down the line, it was a great experience, and one that I hope to repeat over and over again through the years. Maybe someday I'll try a line other than Royal, but I'm sold enough after Explorer of the Seas that for now, we'll try other Royal ships, and see what we love best. Cheers! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
First time "cruiser", as they say. I traveled with experienced "cruisers" (my girlfriend and her parents). Heading into this, I was skeptical about the cruise aspect and was most excited about Bermuda. I'm very ... Read More
First time "cruiser", as they say. I traveled with experienced "cruisers" (my girlfriend and her parents). Heading into this, I was skeptical about the cruise aspect and was most excited about Bermuda. I'm very exploration minded when it comes to vacations, and I wasn't sure the time at sea was for me. As it turned out, I enjoyed the cruise just as much as Bermuda. The cruise consisted of great food, friendly staff, and no shortage of things to do. I settled into a nice little routine of: 8AM: breakfast on the back deck 9-11AM: basketball or gym 11AM-4PM: pool, lounge chair, book, rum drink (or 2) 4-5:30PM: room time, shower time, get dressed for dinner, grab some sushi as an appetizer at the waterfall cafe 5:30PM: meet the gang for pre dinner drink in the rendezvous lounge 6-8PM: dinner 8-9PM: table games in the casino and/or take in some light jazz in the rendezvous lounge 9-10PM: show of the night or else hang out in the rendezvous lounge 10PM+: rendezvous lounge and/or casino As far as Bermuda goes, it was breathtakingly beautiful. Too much cool stuff to do in just 3 days, but that's okay, I was happy with what I got to see and do. Day 1: snorkeling plus boat tour excursion booked through the ship, lunch on the ship, then rented bicycles and explored along the converted rail-to-trail path. Dinner on the ship, and then took the ferry to the harbor fest in Hamilton (stay away from this, total tourist trap!) Day 2: ferry to St. Georges. Snorkeling/swimming/lounging at Tobacco Bay (gorgeous, world class beach with a cool rock jumping spot), lunch at the White Horse, walking/shopping around town. 3pm ferry back to King's Wharf, walked around, hit the mall, and hit happy hour at the Frog & Onion. Day 3: bus to the lighthouse, climbed it, took cool panoramic pictures of the island, then walked to Horseshoe Bay. Another beautiful beach. Bus ride back for late lunch and settling back into the ship. Nit picky criticisms: Sometimes the staff was a little TOO happy and overbearing. I saw about 5 or 6 different cruise staff (including the cruise director on night 1) use the same gimmick when they're handed a microphone, variations of the old "how's everyone doing?", "wait, what kind of greeting is that? Let's try that again, I said how's everyone doing!?" On one of the karaoke nights, there was a really awkward scene where the MC clearly didn't know how to use the machine and tried to gloss over it by grinning a lot and trying to get people to sing songs they didn't pick out. The jazz quartet was pretty solid, though I can't say I'm a huge fan of adult contemporary, light jazz. Heard a lot of Van Morrison and Neil Diamond. I think the Doobie Brothers was the funkiest I heard any of the lounge acts get. I think they could have been given a little bit more of a green light to get funky within the parameters of what people typically expect from lounge entertainment. I also wish the rule about not reserving lounge chairs (especially pool side chairs) was more aggressively enforced and promulgated (possibly with signs & PA announcements). Pool side chairs were a scarce commodity, so someone's hat and book shouldn't get to use one for an hour when there are people on board who could be putting it to better use. I should mention again that I thought the food was really, really excellent. I enjoyed every meal. I should also add that I loved having our own cabin balcony. Great place to relax between adventures. I would definitely do a cruise like this again. I am not sure I could do a cruise where you only get 1 day at each port of call, but this format where you had 3 full days to explore one really cool destination was the best of all worlds for me. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
Celebrity Summit, Aug. 29 to Sept. 5, 2010, Embarkation went smoothly. There was some miss direction on where we were to sit before boarding. As soon as we were given our key card we should have been sent to the "concierge ... Read More
Celebrity Summit, Aug. 29 to Sept. 5, 2010, Embarkation went smoothly. There was some miss direction on where we were to sit before boarding. As soon as we were given our key card we should have been sent to the "concierge area" and all five of us were directed to the general waiting area. After about 30 minutes we were redirected and quickly boarded the ship. Around 1:30 we checked out our room 9160 at the AFT end where our balcony will overlook the ship's wake. We were 2 days into the cruise before I looked up and noticed there was a security latch for the sliding glass door, which at odd moments would open and close. The latch had been damaged sometime in the past and would not close, so using some macrame cord I'd brought for a clothesline I tied the door shut. This proved extremely useful when we bounced through the rough seas of hurricane "Earl" on Saturday Sept. 4, 2010. The cabin seems small for three adults but there was enough space for everyone to unpack and to store our suitcases under the bed except one which was too deep so we stuffed it in the closet. I did have trouble remembering where items were located. Our cabin steward was helpful and kept our room in perfect order with clean towels throughout the day. When we left a note asking for cheese & crackers, we received a nice selection along with the usual appetizer for the rest of the cruise. My friend and I took advantage of the 4 scrapbook workshops offered. It would be nice to have larger tables for these workshops. Originally 3 workshops were planned but because of hurricane Earl we bypassed St. John, New Brunswick to spend an extra day at sea. I thought the "Thalassotherapy seawater bath" was wonderful. After soaking for 20 minutes on the underwater bench I felt totally relaxed and pain free. This is an experience not to be missed. The excursion to Freeport, Maine would have been enjoyable except the extreme temperature made it too hot to shop. The cruise line cannot control the weather. The excursion to Peggy's Cove was beautiful, and it would be great to have time to walk out to the lighthouse when the weather is dry. We enjoyed many of the musical groups and performers throughout the week. My favorite was the Neptunes. The meals were great, and I enjoyed the dining room. I would like to have some type of flavored creamer for my coffee in the buffet area. The coffee was quite strong and I tried several combinations of cream and milk to make it more appetizing. Because of hurricane Earl, our ship docked 5 hours late. The ship's staff worked hard trying to make our delayed disembarkation process as painless as possible, but the process seemed to fall apart and those passengers left waiting were extremely frustrated. Our group of five missed our scheduled flight from the Newark airport. We reschedule our 2:50pm flight for a 5:30pm flight to Charlotte, NC. This made it necessary for the five of us to spend the night in Charlotte for the connecting flight to Charleston, WV. In general the cruise was great. I'm already thinking of my next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
This was our first ever cruise. I had no problems with the ship - it was clean although definitely due for its overhaul. The food was pretty average though. The Waterfall Cafe had cafeteria-style food (pasta, so-so pizza, lots of ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise. I had no problems with the ship - it was clean although definitely due for its overhaul. The food was pretty average though. The Waterfall Cafe had cafeteria-style food (pasta, so-so pizza, lots of casserole type dishes) although the sushi bar was absolutely excellent (why wasn't this available at lunch time?). The kids enjoyed the food but my husband and I ate our lunches at the Spa - tiny serves but at least it was fresh and tasty. The Cosmopolitan food was very ordinary. Our waiter was hysterical - gave us very detailed descriptions each night (I actually do know what a 'jus' is!) but pronounced all the French words phonetically. I didn't have the heart to correct him but perhaps waiter training could include pronunciation? Here's a hint too - if you order breakfast room service in Concierge class, freshly squeezed orange juice is free but you have to pay $2.50 on deck! We ordered orange juice in our cabins and then took it to breakfast with us! We had dinner at the Normandie one night - nice food but not good enough to justify an extra $35 a head. The ports were great (except Portland - boring!!) and we really enjoyed ourselves on port days. But where were all the activities during the 'at sea' days? I was expecting lectures on the history of the places we were going (there was one very boring lectures on lighthouses and that was it!) and lots of free, educational stuff. Instead, we were offered the chance to pay lots of money for whiskey tastings - sorry, not interested. The shows varied a lot. One comedian should have been put out to pasture years ago - i cringed at his show and even his target audience (ladies of 80+) didn't enjoy it. Troy was very funny though. The sing and dance shows were terrible but the cappella group was very good. Overall - my kids (aged 19 and 15) had a ball hanging out with the other kids on the cruise and would do it again but my husband and I wouldn't bother again with a cruise unless it was down a river and there was a port day EVERY day. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
Well, I have been home a week and am still trying to rejoin the land of the normal. We went on the Summit on June 6 and had a wonderful time. I have to thank everyone for all their help in answering my questions. I will post some of my ... Read More
Well, I have been home a week and am still trying to rejoin the land of the normal. We went on the Summit on June 6 and had a wonderful time. I have to thank everyone for all their help in answering my questions. I will post some of my thoughts below. Background Information - We are a family of 5 going on our first cruise. 47,46,22,20,and 16. My husband spent many months on an aircraft carrier and wasn't really excited about going on a cruise. He finally agreed to celebrate our 25th anniversary and our oldest daughter's graduation from college. It was my one shot to get him to like cruising. Travel To Port of Embarkation - We stayed in New York for 2 days before sailing and hired a private car to pick us up and take us to the port.... www.blackexecutivecars.com.... I used them per advise I rec'd here and would highly recommend them again. We asked for a suburban and it fit all 5 of us and our enormous amounts of luggage. It was so nice to not have to worry about cost of taxi's, etc. Embarkation - We arrived at the port about 10:45, our luggage was taken very fast and we went right in to check in. No waiting. After checking in to both rooms, we had to wait a short while before boarding. But we had seats and air conditioning and they provided punch and water if you were thirsty. After a short while they started calling boarding to the shuttles by the numbers you were given at check in. The only problem here was that you can not understand the announcement very well as it is muffled. But we just asked what was said of an employee and moved closer to be able to hear. Our number was called and we were shuttled to ship. Easy check in. We had 4 bottles of wine in one bag (we had 2 rooms, so were allowed that). We wondered if we would be stopped as it was in one bag and they didn't know we had 2 rooms. No one ever looked in our bag or questioned it. It went through xray machine no problem. We then ate lunch in the buffet and when we were done, they announced our rooms were ready. Stateroom - We had originally booked 2 inside rooms as this was our first time and my husband didn't want to spend more as he thought it wouldn't matter. I was lucky enough to grab a military discount and upgrade our room to a veranda room. We were in room 7163 which has a slightly larger veranda than the average, as it is on a curve of the ship. The kids were in an inside stateroom 2139. We are hooked on having a veranda. LOVED being able to look out and see. Spent evenings before supper relaxing out there. The kids would meet us and we would spend a little time together out there before heading to dinner. The kids actually loved their inside room due to the total darkness when lights were out. My son slept on a pull out couch that blocks the way to the bathroom or door, but they just climbed over it when needed. The stateroom attendant would open and close it evening and morning, so it wasn't a real problem. My 6 foot son was long for it, but he refused to trade with his sisters, saying he curled up anyway. Such a gentleman! Stateroom was clean and arranged very well for it's 170 square feet. We had plenty of space to put our clothes and put our empty suitcases under the door. I wouldn't have thought twice about the decor except someone else had mentioned the cowboy curtains. Yes, there were cowboy curtains ... a little dated... but it was all very clean and in good condition. I didn't see any rust in our room. Both our attendants were awesome and kept our room very clean. We had clean towels anytime we used one. It was replaced next time we were out of the room, it seemed. Replaced our shampoo before I had to ask for another one. Excellent service. Our attendant was Newton and he knew our first names the first day and always stopped and asked how things were going when he saw us. I asked how many rooms he had and we he said 20, I was shocked he could remember our names. Service - Service on the ship was awesome. Everyone was very friendly and ready to help at the drop of a hat. I did not experience anything less than excellent. Our table was cleaned as soon as we were finished eating or drinking something. After first night at dinner, when they saw we had 3 soda cards, we always had Diet cokes waiting for us on our arrival. Our waiters were fantastic. We had Wirata and Catalin. We loved going to dinner. Catalin was assistant waiter, but should be a head waiter, he was awesome. At the end of the meals, if they had time, they would do magic tricks or mind games with us. Just the thing my family loves to do. We had 6 PM seating and it was perfect for us. Entertainment and Activities - We loved going to the shows every evening. They were all good, some great. Don't miss the first night... preview of shows. They brought out the Neptunes whom perform everyday in different venues. They are an a cappella group and are fantastic.. Find them on the ship.Also you need to find John Winters... he plays acoustic guitar and sings great mellow music. Jack Johnson type things. Loved listening to him. Bermuda - We take the laid back attitude on our trips. We loved Bermuda for this purpose. We got a 2 day bus, ferry pass and it cost $20 for adults and $10 for our 16 year old. We took the bus to Horseshoe Bay the first day and just went to the main beach. Very beautiful. Lots of people, but still easy to find a place to park. Second day we were going to try another beach, but it was easiest to catch the bus to Horseshoe Bay again. When we got off the beach, instead of going straight down to the beach we walked just a little past the stop where there were trails. There was a clean port a potty right at top also (so if you do this.. you don't have to trudge down the long hill to the bathrooms at main beach). We hiked on the trails... beautiful. You end up walking on the cliffs overlooking the beach. Just gorgeous. After a hike, we climbed down to the beach and were able to be all secluded. Just us and the gorgeous beach. Every now and then someone would walk by your little cove, but then they were gone and we were alone again. At end of day we hiked back up where we came down and walked a little farther down and then back to main room and came to a bus stop by Warwick Beach. Excellent day. Teenagers and Young Adults - There were a few teens on board, but not many. Not many single young adults. If they had been on board, I am sure my kids would have enjoyed it, but this did not stop them from enjoying what we had. We are used to taking secluded vacations where it is just family. My kids enjoyed laying at the pool, hanging with each other and family and just relaxing. We and they did go to the Revelations bar in the evening some. They enjoyed watching some of us old fogies dancing. The most fun night was the night they have the 60's party. We didn't make it every night, so there could have been other very active nights. We were just exhausted and wanted to relax. Summit - The ship was in fine shape. Was it new? No. Did the decor need updated? Sure Did that impact the trip at all? No It was clean, well kept and beautiful! I wouldn't have thought to even notice the outdated things if I hadn't read about it before. Did I see rust? No... but I wasn't looking. I said something to my husband about the rust comments I had read on hear and he was shocked. Being a Navy man... he said "It's a ship at sea, there WILL be rust.... " I know there was rust, but I didn't go looking for it and didn't notice any. My kids got a laugh in the stairways each day. There were Busts on each floor of females. They took pictures of them as they looked liked female drag queens or something. These will definitely be gone I am sure when the Summit is upgraded. Even with the ship decor being outdated, the ship was beautiful and well kept! Getting on and off ship at Port - This was easy and very nice to have cold towels and drinks waiting when we got back. I did want to put this in here just as a head's up for those traveling with young adult women. Before getting back to the ship, you have to go through the Bermuda Port Authority Check point, where they check your ID and do occasional x rays of bags and random checks. They tend to do this if you are in the line closest to the machine. My daughter was picked as a random check and we walked through waiting for her. It took some time. When she came out, she had tears in her eyes and said she felt "dirty". The man talking to her was looking her over and asking if she wanted to go out that night. My husband wanted to go back, but as we were not in the US, we decided not to push anything. After that we made sure we were ALL in the left lane and knew if one of the girls were picked, we would just stand there before leaving the building. I saw the man eyeing my daughter the next day and I EYED him. He looked away, and left her alone. It was not a Celebrity employee or we would have talked to them. Just wanted to give that heads up. Especially to people traveling with young adults. Disembarkation - We had been given 2 different disembarkation times, so my husband talked to guest services and they changed us. We requested last call. We were down to breakfast at 8 AM. Ate, went back to room and had to be at meeting room at 9:20. We sat and talked in the lounge chairs until they called for us to disembark. We walked off .. waited about 5 minutes to board a shuttle and were taken to the place where our luggage was. Walked to where our luggage was, walked right to customs, no waiting... and out to cars. Called the car service, told them what "gate" we were at and we were pulling out at 10:30. No problem. Summary - Excellent first cruise!! Met all our expectations and more. The most telling thing is that my husband is ready to do another cruise!! He was talking Alaska before we got off. Oh, but he is hooked on having a veranda! So, love Celebrity and loved Summit. Would go again in a heartbeat!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2010
Just got back from our June 10 - 19th cruise on Explorer of the Seas sailing out of Cape Liberty with a 2 day stop in Bermuda, one day in Nassau and one day in Coco Cay. First off this was my wife and my first cruise. We have traveled ... Read More
Just got back from our June 10 - 19th cruise on Explorer of the Seas sailing out of Cape Liberty with a 2 day stop in Bermuda, one day in Nassau and one day in Coco Cay. First off this was my wife and my first cruise. We have traveled fairly extensively in the Caribbean staying in All Inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, as well as 5 star hotels in the United States. We weren't sure what to expect on a cruise but thought that it would be an exciting change. We were not disappointed. Embarkation Port - Cape Liberty Cape Liberty itself is abit of a dive ... traffic flow into the port is terrible so give yourself lots of extra time if driving to the ship. Wife and I flew in from Toronto, and arrived in Newark by 10AM. We were at the port by 11AM and on the ship around 1:00. First Day Thoughts: It seems that most people head straight for the Windjammer buffet as the rooms are not ready until 4:30. Be prepared for massive crowds in the buffet ... I suggest leaving larger carry ons with the porters to be delivered to your room later. I know this is debatable, however, I felt it would not have been worth it having to lug around large carry ons with the large crush of people in the lunch buffet on the first day. Arrive early and you should get a seat ... it's your first day of vacation so why wait until 2 or 3 to get on the boat? Gotta squeeze out every last bit of value from your hard earned vacation dollars! This was one thing I really liked about the first day of the cruise. When my wife and I have gone to all inclusive resorts we often have not arrived until late in the afternoon, sometimes even late evening! That's a whole day of vacation gone. With this cruise by 2:00 we had full tummy's and time to explore the ship. We felt we really got into "vacation mode" alot sooner than we had on our previous land based vacations. When you DO finally get into your rooms make sure you have disinfectant wipes with you. ALOT of people go through these rooms, as a matter of fact likely somebody has vacated your room less than 5 hours before you arrived! I think it's important to give the washroom a wipedown, it would suck to get sick a day into vacation! Check your sheets to make sure you have clean linen as well. We didn't have any problems but I have heard of people that do. Staterooms: We had a Superior Balcony stateroom near the back of the ship. It was a long walk down that hallway to get to our rooms. I think next time around I'd rather be either half way or closer to the front ... the elevator to the buffet and pool deck is on that side of the ship ... and you will be using that elevator bank ALOT! The room itself was great. Spacious compared to what I was expecting, tons of storage and closet space, and a reasonable sized bathroom. The shower stall was big enough for the two of us (a little tight with two), and I loved the sliding door which kept the rest of the washroom floor reasonably dry. The beds were comfortable, slightly more firm than what I am used to but nothing to complain about. Compared to the beds at RIU resorts, RCCL beds were heavenly. Room had a safe, a small fridge, came with two 1 litre Evian waters (not sure if we had to pay for that or not). Dining: The food on the ship was great. We felt the buffet was decent with a large selection of meats, fruits, vegetables, pasta dishes and so forth. I didn't see awhole lot of chicken throughout the cruise although we did get to try the famous honey stung chicken which was delicious. A warning to those who like their meat well done ... Americans tend to prefer their meat bloody ... if you want a well cooked steak make sure you tell them WELL DONE. Unfortunately though this will usually result in a very dry steak so consider yourself warned! The MDR was beautiful and our servers were fantastic. There was nothing he wasn't willing to do for us, often bringing out multiple entres unasked. The food itself was very good, however, it was also VERY sauce heavy. The richness of the food didn't sit too well with my stomach (I have digestion problems), and I had to take a break a few days and go to the buffet instead. Food quality though is far better in the MDR than the buffet ... far far far better. While I really appreciated the casual dining atmosphere of the buffet a few nights, we ended up back in the MDR simply because the food tasted so much better and the service was amazing. That's not to say service in the buffet was lacking. There were always servers coming around bringing drinks, both free and those you pay for. Breakfast was a nice selection of eggs, bacon, continental, omelette's, etc. Wife and I got room service for breakfast several mornings and while not as good as the buffet nothing could beat sitting out of the balcony with breakfast and coffee while sailing into a port. If there is one thing you DO do in terms of dining, please please PLEASE visit the lunch MDR on sea days. It is a million times better than the buffet. Wife and I only got there once during our cruise and we regretted not taking advantage of it more. The food quality was far better than the buffet and they had a salad bar there that was probably one of the best I've ever seen. The entres at lunch were delicious and tasted much fresher than the buffet. A few other dining thoughts: Don't be late in the buffet. When the buffet closes IT CLOSES. Within 2 minutes after closing all the food will be gone, the staff is VERY efficient. Coffee on this ship is STRONG. If your used to Tim Horton's or Dunkin Donuts style coffee you will need to water down your coffee (half water/half coffee). That made it taste alot more like I am used to. Cafe Promenade pizza is disgusting. Unless it is 3 AM and you are drunk as hell and starving. Then it is the food of the gods. =) Pools: Wife and I loved the pool deck. Tons of places to sit and it never felt crowded. The water was abit colder than my liking but really the pool was more for cooling off before going back to tanning. The whirlpools were fantastic, I really loved sitting in their and making new friends. The music on the pool deck ranged from great to not so great. In the afternoons a Caribbean band would play live music for a few hours which we loved. Unfortunately though most of the time they had top 40 garbage playing which I really didn't like. When I went to AI resorts in the Caribbean it was Calypso, reggae and Caribbean music all day long ... I would have much preferred something like that over hearing the equivalent of Sirius 1 all day long. Pool deck was divided in half with smoking allowed on one side and not on the other, so be prepared if you hate smokers and are from a state or province that is anti smoking. Personally I'm a chimney so I was in heaven =) Entertainment: Not even sure where to start. There was so much to do on the ship I almost felt overwhelmed at first. I am sure that if you are the type of person that has to do EVERYTHING you may end up really stressed out. Take my approach ... go with the flow, do what you enjoy, and don't stress out if you miss something. Everyone hates an "itinerary" guy ... you know the guy or gal that puts their entire family on a regimented schedule. There were many days when wife and I basically ignored the compass (schedule of day activities) and did whatever we pleased ... now THAT's vacationing! Entertainment options were varied and there was always something going on. Wife and I really enjoyed the evening entertainment. For those of you used to all inclusive resorts like Gran Bahia Principe or RIU resorts, the RCCL cruise ship entertainment blew those resorts out of the water. Piano bars, a great disco, broadway style shows, an ice show (which we sadly missed due to a spa appointment on formal day), casino, comedy clubs, live music of every sort imaginable .... the entertainment on this ship put very simply kicked some serious ass. The entertainment was probably one of the biggest reasons I think that makes this type of vacation so wonderful. RCCL does a fantastic job on this front, you will NOT be disappointed. Service: Unbelievable in a very good way. There was NOTHING the staff wouldn't do for you. A HUGE noticeable difference from service in regular Caribbean All Inclusive resorts which I had always thought was ok. Tip these people. They work long hours and you will almost never see a frown. They all were genuine nice people ... honestly the service was a big part of what made the trip so memorable from the wait staff in the MDR and buffet, to our stateroom attendant that was the kindest I've ever had while on vacation. Bravo RCCL, FANTASTIC! Spa: Great people working there although it is very expensive. I tried acupuncture and plan on continuing treatment back here in Canada. Glad I did it. My wife got a facial and felt it made a huge difference to her very sensitive skin. Ladies be warned, the staff in the spa is expected to upsell you on very VERY expensive spa products on top of your treatments (often more expensive than the spa service you already paid for!). The staff is VERY good at it (selling) and will use a combination of flattery and appealing to your vanity to get you to buy. With that said the spa products are very high quality and the spa staff WILL give you the right stuff for your skin/hair, etc ... just be aware that upselling you is a part of your job and don't get suckered into buying stuff you don't need. If you do have the cash and want it though, don't hesitate, the products are very good. Overall though I really loved the spa ... the staff was really nice and it felt wonderful to be pampered while on holiday. Ports -- Bermuda What a beautiful country. Staying for 2 days really allowed us to see a big chunk of the country. So clean, people so friendly, best beaches I've seen in the world so far. Be warned though that food is pretty expensive in Bermuda (restaurant dining), although very very good. Horseshoe bay (Bermuda's most famous beach) was very crowded although still very beautiful ... we saw many people on practically deserted lesser known beaches and we would probably do that next time. Transportation for the day is 12 dollars which allows you to use all ferry's and busses in Bermuda all day long. The beach by the cruise ship in King's Wharf costs 10 or 15 dollars a person so I suggest heading away from the tourist trap and fining your own private paradise by bus. Ports -- Nassau What a dive. Nassau kind of felt like the ghetto near the port ... slimeballs trying to sell you everything from drugs to fake Cuban cigars. Keep your purse and wallets closely guarded and don't talk to strangers. The town around the port had alot of shopping but I suggest either going straight to Atlantis or taking one of the many excursions offered by the ship ... preferably an excursion that goes far away from Nassau itself. Wife and i did Blackbeard's Beach Break and it was AMAZING. The island was very private and had the best beach I think of the whole vacation. Sandals was across the bay and also ferryed some of those resort guests to a private beach on the island as well. I can't stress enough how fantastic this beach was and the ferry ride from shore allowed us to get some awesome pictures. The only downside was that it was very short (2 and a half hours). Next time I think I might go to the Hilton resort near the port which supposedly has a very good deal and would give you more time on the beach. A cab to Atlantis was 6 dollars per person so wife and I went there to walk around after the beach break. It was beautiful but in a fabricated way. Beautiful in the sense that Mandalay Bay/Four Seasons resort in Vegas is beautiful ... a very manicured theme park for the very very very rich. If your into that sort of thing you'll enjoy it, personally I liked the beach a zillion times better. Port -- Coco Cay RCCL's private island was very beautiful. Sheltered, you could walk out for literally miles and the water would stay shallow. The lunch barbecue was to die for (ribs, burgers, hot dogs, fruits, salads and more A suggestion ... don't grab a lounger as soon as you get off the ship. If you walk for about 15 minutes down the beach you'll come to some very secluded areas of the beach that are so beautiful it will make your heart break. These areas ALSO have loungers many with their own shaded umbrellas. Get to the beach EARLY. The morning was wonderful at Coco Cay but by 1:00 it was uncomfortably hot (a furnace). Because the water is so shallow, it heats up VERY quickly and did not really help alleviate the heat. Don't get me wrong I LOVE bathwater warm Caribbean water, but again, the water was so shallow it was literally HOT by 2:00. Go to the beach early you won't regret it. And bring lots of sun tan lotion, even with SPF 60 you will STILL likely get burned. Drinks: Expensive and STRONG! I loved the drinks they had so many different concoctions and they didn't go cheap on the booze. They were pricey though so if you like to drink be prepared to spend alot over your vacation. Wine is probably the most economical way to go, take the bottle with you after dinner (you are allowed to do this) and get a wine package. This will save you some serous money over one offing drink after drink. Shopping/Promenade: The ship "mall" as I called it was a a great place to hang out. There were always sales going on ... if you plan on picking up souvenirs do so towards the latter half of the cruise. Alot of the clothing went on sale for 50 percent off towards the end of the cruise, as did many of the other items available on the ship. Smoking Policies: It's open game in the smoking sections of the ship but we still got dirty looks sometimes. I felt sorry for the people in the balconies next to mine as I smoke ALOT. It's why I got a balcony but I really think that RCCL should have a "one side of the ship balconies is non smoking, and one side is" policy when allocating cabins just like they do in public areas of the ship. I know my neighbors did NOT like my smoking at all. A shame. Casino(slots): If you like slots you will lose money. Lots of it, these machines are tight. It's not even close to Vegas or Atlantic City in terms of the payouts. If you are a serious slots player they don't have rating machines for player cards. You have to tell the staff every time you put money into a machine if you want to be rated. This was too much of an annoyance so I didn't bother to get rated. The machines are old school with coin drops which was kind of fun at first but in the end was more annoying than anything as you will be constantly making trips to the cashier. In all honesty I felt they could do a better job in the casino to make it player friendly. It was obvious they were making a killing in there, a few player perks would go a long way ... as it stands right now I doubt I will use their slot machines again ... bad odds and 0 comps. I can't speak for the table games but I heard the house rake at the poker table was ridiculous. Disembarkation: Cape Liberty was once again a mad house of traffic. I purposefully got a late flight and didn't bother with express departure. I preferred a leisurely buffet breakfast, didn't want any stress on the last day. The line up of cars to get into the port was so long even taxi's were having trouble getting in. So be prepared if you have a time sensitive flight that it may take a LONG time to get out of the port. Problems: Basically none. Our toilet did get clogged at one point and several calls and one visit to the front desk achieved nothing. One word to our stateroom attendant though and it was fixed literally within minutes. Note to everyone: Your stateroom attendant will go above and beyond to see you happy ... as it can have a direct financial impact on them (tips). Our stateroom attendant really was a genuine nice guy, but this is something to keep in mind when you need service. Highlights: Sitting on the lower deck outside having a smoke while sailing back to Cape Liberty, a school of dolphins started following the ship and jumping out of the water (5 of them!). It was an amazing sight and something you just can't get in a theme park. I'll remember that until the day I die. Also saw an aircraft carrier while sailing past Virginia (probaly we were passing Norfolk). We got buzzed by a fighter jet which was super cool. Overall: A great vacation, one to remember. Having 2 extra days (trip was 9 nights instead of 7) made a HUGE difference in helping wife and I to relax. We did find the cruise to be far FAR more expensive than a land based from Canada would be after counting tips, paying for drinks, excursions and so forth. But the memories and experience were worth it. I really liked the mix of sun and AC entertainment in the evenings ... I'm used to beach vacations in the Caribbean where the only AC available is in your hotel room ... being able to escape to the interior of the ship after getting badly burned in Coco Cay, this was a relief and a treat. Really enjoyed my first cruise. This is a fantastic ship, with great food, great service and will give you great memories. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
My husband and I, both 50 yrs. old, went on the Explorer to Bermuda for our 25th anniversary. This was our first and we were very excited, but as I read the reviews I was getting more and more nervous that we wouldn't enjoy it. Well - ... Read More
My husband and I, both 50 yrs. old, went on the Explorer to Bermuda for our 25th anniversary. This was our first and we were very excited, but as I read the reviews I was getting more and more nervous that we wouldn't enjoy it. Well - I have only one piece of advice - IGNORE THE NEGATIVE REVIEWS. We had a great cruise. Even though we boarded and left late, the cruise started great - very cold - but great. Boarding was done quickly, we had a balcony room and was very happy with the size and location,and yes, there is plenty of storage. We went to the Windjammer for a quick dinner, went to the top to watch the ship squeeze under the Verazanno and then went to explore the ship. The ship is very clean and it is not "dated". It's really beautiful. Spent the next day exploring the ship and relaxing. First night was the Formal Dinner. Please - dress up for this one night. Again, after reading so many negative reviews, I didn't know what to expect from the dinner. The dinner was great. The appetizers are not large, but we ordered a few so we could share a bit of everything and try things I wouldn't usually order - like escargot - which was delicious. Every night, the food was great. And yes, there is lobster. The last night we had lobster and shrimp and it was delicious. We only saw a couple of shows, that's not really our thing. But we had a great time in the casino, going to have a few drinks and enjoying the night. As for drinks, they are the same price as any restaurant or club, BUT they are so strong, that we actually drank less than normal. Our overall charges at the end of the cruise was much less than I expected. We were not nickeled and dimed. I don't know how other cruises work, so I have nothing to compare it to, but we got more than our money's worth on this cruise. We spent the next day and 1/2 in Bermuda. Bermuda is beautiful. In that amount of time we saw the entire island. From Ft. Catherine to the Naval Yard. Horseshoe Bay is incredible. We went to the Crystal Caves (small but interesting - tho I don't know if it's worth $20 each). Had a great dinner in Hamilton in a restaurant onnected to the Bermuda Expedition Center. Beautiful outdoor (and indoor) dining. I think more locals go there than tourists. The Naval Yard is very touristy but I enjoyed it. The Glassworks Shop is beautiful and the Rum Cakes are very good. That day at 4:30 we left Bermuda to head back to NJ. More time on the ship exploring, eating, drinking, doing whatever. Went to some shows. The Ice Show and the Final Performance. Both were very good. The ship was very, very rocky on the way back - but the best advice I got was to buy Bromine. I took it every morning and never felt seasick. The Explorer of the Seas is a beautiful ship, the crew is great and can't do enough for you. Go, enjoy your trip, and I unless you're searching for negatives, you will have a great time. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
This was my very first cruise and after it was all said and done it certainly will not be my last! I went on this vacation with my boyfriend and one other couple, we range in age from 23-25, and this was the first cruise for all of us. ... Read More
This was my very first cruise and after it was all said and done it certainly will not be my last! I went on this vacation with my boyfriend and one other couple, we range in age from 23-25, and this was the first cruise for all of us. Despite the poor weather in Bermuda we still had an amazing time. I did a lot of research prior to this cruise and I must say that my expectations were exceeded in every way. We traveled to Bayonne NJ from Philadelphia and the ride was easy and quick. There was some confusion with the port itself, a lot of people were still coming off the last cruise as we were arriving, and the baggage area was very congested. Once we situated ourselves and got our luggage loaded we proceeded to the waiting terminal and munched on cookies and coffee until our group was called. Once on the ship we just took it all in and our excitement never faded from that moment on. We ate some lunch at the Windjammer and I was shocked to see how roomy the Windjammer was. I expected crowds of people all standing in long lines but it was not that way at all. The food was just fine to me and the selection of food suited everyone perfectly. After lunch we headed straight to the pool area and we were the very first people to get in those hot tubs. We officially started the party! We drank a bit and enjoyed the Calypso band while we soaked up the sunshine. We stayed on the pool deck for several hours and around 4:00 we decided to check out our rooms. Our luggage was sitting outside of our door when we arrived at our rooms. Even the bags with our rum runners in them ?. We were on deck 6 with a promenade window, which I LOVED. It was also great to be so close to everything, it made exploring very easy. Our room was spacious enough for us and all of our suitcases fit nicely under the bed so we had a lot of floor space. After unpacking we were off to try to find the Flyers game on one of the TVs, unfortunately their search was unfounded. The guys were disappointed but nothing another drink and a round of mini golf couldn't solve. We did a little more exploring then went back to the pool deck to lounge around and watch our ship set sail. Our dinner every night was at 8:30 which was perfect for allowing us ladies plenty of time to get all pretty for dinner. Our waiters were wonderful, the food was spectacular, and the overall service every night was perfect. I give those workers so much credit for all that they do each and every night. They go above and beyond to make everyone feel special. We visited each of the bars throughout our trip and our group's general consensus was that the cigar lounge kicked butt! It was the perfect place to just relax after a very long day, even if you do not smoke cigars; I guarantee the vibe in that room will win you over. They even serve chocolate covered strawberries for the ladies. We had a nice long conversation with the main bartender there and he was an awesome fellow. For breakfast, each day we tried something new so we hit up all of the breakfast options. The top pick for breakfast was the main dining room for sure. For lunch we did the Windjammer or the cafe on the promenade. The cafe was also perfect for those late night drunk munchies. We hung in the casino for a bit but my friend and I did not play any games. Our boyfriends played though and won! My boyfriend won 200 bucks with the 3 card poker! We also went to the adult comedy show which was pretty funny and we saw the ice show, which blew my mind. It was fantastic in every way. The costumes, the sets, and the performers were so good. I left that show with a longing to learn how to skate like the stars in that show. We also went to the Quest game show and of course my boyfriend and my friend's boyfriend had to volunteer to be the two male captains of our team. Our guys are extremely competitive and the word lose is not in their vocabulary, so of course that being said, they made pulled out all the stops and freaking won. They only won hats though. I think the prizes on the ship could be stepped up a bit. But the Quest was hilarious and I laughed until it hurt. We used the gym twice and I must say running on a treadmill while looking out into the ocean significantly helps to keep your mind off the sweat and pain. We did not use the spa but it looked nice and there is always next time. We used the hot tubs a lot. The solarium ones were the best. We swam in the pool as well, but the water is very salty so it does burn the eyes a bit. We never had a problem finding four lounge chairs together, which was also an issue I anticipated. Now onto Bermuda, Bermuda....oh Bermuda. I was a little bummed with the weather but really there is nothing you can do about it. Just have to make the best of it and that we did. We faced those gale force winds and I thought it was quite fun. You can't help but to laugh at everyone all blowing around. We saw a bit of the dockyard, kissed under a moongate, aww. And then took a ferry into Hamilton. The parade was going on so we saw a little bit of that and then went off to eat lunch at the Hog Penny. The Bermuda seafood chowder was delicious and we tried our first Rum Swizzle. After lunch, the sun came out for a bit, so we looked up the closest beach and took one of the cute little pink buses to Shelly Bay. It was not much of a beach but the four us were the only ones on it. We pretty much got a private beach experience. The water was crystal clear and blue like I have never seen. It was beautiful. Those of us in the group who wore our bathing suits got to swim about in the pretty sea. The water was surprisingly very warm and very calm. Shelly Bay is a little peninsula so it does not get the crazy waves and it's pretty shallow all the way through. We dried off and we were still felling adventurous so we hopped on another bus and went into St. George. Most of the shops were closed but we did manage to get some Cuban Cigars and some Bermuda souvenirs. We explored St. George and then we were beat so we all got on the bus to go back to Hamilton, then another to go to the Dockyard. Later that night, we attempted to venture back out after dinner but the rain made it too cold. We did not get very far before giving up and going back to the ship. The second day in Bermuda started out even worse then the first. Instead of gale-force winds we got pouring rain. But that did not stop us! We packed on our hats and hoods and set off for that ferry again. From Hamilton we took a bus to the caves and that was the best thing to do on a rainy day. They were covered up from the rain and they were beautiful. We only saw the Crystal Cave but that was enough. The cave had such a pretty little river or lake or whatever you want to call it, running through it and the whole cave was just so awe inspiring. After the cave experience, we ate lunch and drank at the Swizzle Inn. The food was once again very yummy and the Rum Swizzles did there job. The Swizzle Inn was another group favorite. After, lunch we crossed the street and hopped on yet another bus that took us to Horse Shoe Bay. We ended up missing the stop so we had to do a bit of walking but it was well worth it. That beach was amazing; it looked just like a post card. I have never seen little coves like that on a beach so I was very excited. We played in the coves and took lots of pictures and then we really had to get back to the ship. It was almost 4:30 and the ship was leaving at 5. We took a cab, which was parked right by the beach, and our driver was a nice little dude. He got us to our ship on time and we did not get left behind. I imagine that with a pretty sunshine and blue sky Bermuda would really have been splendid, but even with the cloudy days and the rain I still think it was a beautiful island. The rest of the cruise went well and like I said before we loved every minute of it. We came across a few fellow travelers who complained about what a miserable time they had on this cruise. I felt sorry for those people. A vacation is what you make it and we made ours the best time of our lives so far. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
Many a harsh statement has been bandied online about the Celebrity Summit. The Internet can be both glorious and dangerous when it comes to individual opinions expressed for mass consumption. Glorious for the sharing of information. ... Read More
Many a harsh statement has been bandied online about the Celebrity Summit. The Internet can be both glorious and dangerous when it comes to individual opinions expressed for mass consumption. Glorious for the sharing of information. Dangerous that some of that information is flippantly created anonymously by persons with keyboard courage. Giving discordant voice masked behind a surreptitious screen name. Wanting to surprise my partner with a birthday gift I booked our first ever cruise; leaping blindly off a virtual cliff in less than five minutes of finding a great online bargain for the Summit. In my excitement at snatching the sale I foolishly did not do any research on Celebrity or the Summit. If I had done so; and followed the advice of those who with keyboard courage and pampered predilections voicing to avoid the "aging rust encrusted Slummit" I and my partner would have missed out on our best vacation experience to date. First and foremost to those worried that they will be boarding a ship that should be sent to a sea bed sanitarium; you'd be foolish to believe that misguided advisory. Being a neat-freak Virgo (those reading this also under the sign know how much we desire perfection and how others despise us for our elusive pursuit of such) I found the Summit meticulously clean. Are there minute imperfections? Yes. But one really must go out of their way to find such and to those who do I ask; "Why waste your pleasure in seeking displeasure?" I can only think that these personalities are like the livid, whining woman I saw on the final morning in the buffet who berated a waiter demanding, "Where's the brown sugar! This is unacceptable!" (Oh horror. Catastrophe appalling.) -- The MDR Food: Wonderful. I and my partner enjoyed every dish except the lobster on the final evening. But you try cooking and serving lobster for nearly 1,500 guests within several hours and tell me how you can guarantee perfection for every serving. -- Memorable Dishes: The escargot (a first for me); a delightful surprise (and dang tasty). The crème brulee? Great. -- The MDR Service: Not until I and my partner were granted a private, full galley tour (including both the Normandie and the MDR) did I full appreciate the Herculean task of the staff in servicing 2,000 patrons each day with, as reported by the Executive Chef, 10,000 - 11,000 meals per day. Try that with your Hotpoint and KitchenAid Cookware and see how you fare. The first night there seemed to be some disorganization among the wait staff in our section. But I believe that this was because the staff for that evening were temporary replacements for our regular staff which came on duty the second night and thereon. Our regular servers were superb. -- Back of House info learned on the Private Galley Tour: There are 110 chefs and food preparers in the galley. All ice cream (except sugar-free products) is made daily on-board. All bread is made fresh in the bakery 24/7 without stop. Each dish is inspected for temperature and visual presentation before being allowed to leave the kitchen. And if you're wondering where the galley is; it's on deck three behind the Normandie. Servers ride escalators, delivering meals, to the fourth and fifth decks. The staff - who derive from 35 countries - are served foods to match the tastes of their homeland. These are served in a private cafeteria. The staff also has their own bar. (After all the toil they turn for us tourists; they rightly deserve that perk.) -- The Normandie: Wonderful. I had the filet mignon. I can't recall what the partner had. I was too engrossed in the deliciousness that was my dish. Treat yourself to at least one evening at the Normandie. You'll be ever the happier overall that you took upon this singular sensational experience. -- Accommodations: We had a deluxe balcony stateroom (7168). Yes, the furnishings for some visitors may seem a tad dated; but aren't we all? The room was comfortable. The head (bathroom) fine. And the balcony rust... oh please... who doesn't have a bit of rust somewhere in their bones or basement? The spattered specks upon the steel plating were no more discouraging than a day-old doughnut. -- Room Steward: We're very independent and enjoy our anonymity. On a Celebrity Cruise - with every staff member wishing you a "Good"-something, being ignored is difficult. I was prepared for the attention. My partner (being this was a surprise up until he saw the Summit on sail-day) was not ready nor comfortable with the constant attention. Especially on the early morning when he opened our cabin door and standing there were four crew members who greeted him in unison, "Good Morning". (I laughed at the absurdity and 'assault'.) My partner eventually got used to being acknowledged. Needs were met without our asking. So much so that we jokingly pondered if our steward had had a hidden camera in the room. Only once was there a minor service misstep; a delay in having all aspects of a previously ordered celebratory gift delivered simultaneously. But the slight faux pas did not anger nor disappoint. Mistakes happen. -- Fitness Area / Gym / Sauna: My partner who can't live without a gym was addicted to the facilities on board the Summit. In my desire to get away from any kind of exertion during the excursion I was addicted to the spa pool and tubs. Mea culpa. -- Aqua Spa Cafe: A great healthy, eating option that my partner could not be pulled away from. -- Public Areas: Wonderful. Stage Shows: Not so wonderful. Full disclosure here first. I'm a casting director for film, television and theater (B'way and regional). I'm also a director for theater and an author of a Random House book on acting. So you may think my view a bit harsh and biased. The stage shows with the Summit cast were embarrassing to the Celebrity brand. I blame the producer who cobbled together the poorly executed and inappropriate reviews; not the performers. Of the three shows I and my partner (a talent agency owner) attended there were many an inappropriate, jaw dropping, "I can't believe they just did that" moment. Including the tribute to the movie TITANIC. A pas de deux is performed as a singer, standing at a ship's bow, belts Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On". At the end of the song all the performers, on stage elevators, sink into the stage and off to oblivion. Obviously someone on the creative team was having creative amnesia and forgot that the audience watching this musical tribute to a nautical disaster was viewing the choreographed catastrophe while at sea. Poorly produced summer stock is the best that I can with all candor credit Celebrity Summit's stage shows. Including the "magician" who doesn't perform illusions but has fits of video self-indulgence. Spoiler alert: The 'live' card trick is nothing more than a pre-taped deception. The performers - in costuming not much better than community theater stitchings - do their best with the given musical material. They are not to blame for what is being presented. The producer does them a great disservice with this debacle. By coincidence, there was also a casting director for a major soap-opera on board as well as a former casting exec for CBS. Their views on the production standards and packaging were equally, if not more so, candid. -- Embarkation / Disembarkation: we were not Concierge Class nor had any special privileges. Just average trudging tourists. Getting on and off the ship was easy, fast and painless. -- Overall: Go on Summit without expectations. Enjoy the reason that you're there; to relax. If you're like the woman who complained on the final morning about her inaccessibility to brown sugar (which was quickly handed to her) you've got your priorities misplaced. The Summit staff and crew are diligent in their efforts. I saw many working 12-hour shifts daily. While on a private bridge tour with the captain I discovered how dedicated all who work on-board are to making each passenger's sailing safe and satisfying. Would this finicky, picky Virgo sail Summit again? When's the next departure? - Paul Russell Celebrity Summit May 30 - June 6 2010 Cape Liberty - Bermuda Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
Every vacation has its pluses and minuses, but this time the pluses far out weighed any negatives. The Summit and staff were great. I work in the hotel industry so my standards may be a little different than the average cruiser. In hotel ... Read More
Every vacation has its pluses and minuses, but this time the pluses far out weighed any negatives. The Summit and staff were great. I work in the hotel industry so my standards may be a little different than the average cruiser. In hotel terms, the ship was a little tired - if you looked really hard you would see worn spots, but with the worn you also found staff who were continually cleaning, polishing, shining and greeting you with a smile and a kind word where ever you turned. We were told the ship was scheduled for a makeover in 2011, but in the meantime do not let the age put you off - hey we all have a wrinkle or two. If you have a chance to tour the galleys - do so. The kitchens were fascinating and there was more food to sample as you toured. The food was excellent! My son is a chef from a major culinary school, so he has taught me well. We did select dining and it was great. We never had to wait longer than 5 minutes for a table, were seated randomly with really nice people who added to our experience. Portions were not large and when you are eating 4 courses they should not be. We had a variety of waiters and they were great. If you asked a question, they knew the answer and if you selected something that might be past their peak of flavor, they would steer you to a better choice. We also liked breakfast in the spa area - very uncrowded and the food was organic and tasty. We had a inside cabin. It was quiet, dark and ideal for sleeping. We were never in the cabin as there was much to do. Our steward always had our room ready, with ice in the bucket, water in the pitcher. Normally we were up and out early every day. The one morning we slept in, our steward knocked about 10am. Our sign went lost and he was very apologetic for awaking us and promptly hung another sign. We had rough weather the first 2 days and those with balconies commented at dinner they were bothered by the noise, but we missed it all. The entertainment was a treat. We loved going to the various venues to see our favorite singers and musicians. We chatted over the week with the Neptunes (acapella quartet), a jazz trio, the cruise director, the ship's comedian and all were very friendly and hospitable. We all of the stage shows but one and they were well choreographed and directed. Sound levels were perfect and you could hear and understand every word sung. Would I go back? YES. Did I not want the week to be over. Double YES. The only negative was our departure. This was the first time the Summit had used Cape Liberty. There was not enough contracted staff and not enough computers to get us on board. We got to the port at 1:30 and waited 2 hours in lines to get our final paperwork so we could board. The ship was delayed by over 2 hours to get out of port. Weather was cold and rainy so we missed leaving the harbor. Due to the weather, the seas were rough so you will want to bring Dramamine. I did not and ended up having to bum some from my companion. Read Less

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