Celebrity Summit 7 Night RT to Bermuda from Cape Liberty 8/28/16
Sail Date: August 28, 2016
Reviewed: 6 months ago
Traveled As: Couple
Room Type: Balcony
Celebrity Summit Bermuda Cruise 8/28/16
After hearing how beautiful Bermuda is and how much we would like Celebrity Cruises, DW and I booked our first Bermuda and Celebrity cruise back in July of 2015 for an August 28, 2016, 7 night round trip to Bermuda from Bayonne (Cape Liberty), NJ. We booked a mid-ship balcony @ $1,344 and upgraded to their “Go Best” promotion for $300 pp. We received prepaid gratuities ($90 pp), 7 day Wi-Fi for 2 ($299 pp) and premium beverage packages ($455 pp). We also received $150 OBC pp. We then monitored the prices over the months and when the price dropped for the same cabin category, we contacted Celebrity. As a result of the price reduction, we were given the option of a refund of the difference in price, or an upgrade to Concierge Class in a similar category. We chose Concierge class and were treated to still more amenities. After a group cruise on the Allure of the Seas in June 2016, this cruise we traveled as a couple as we mostly do. While we missed the company of others, it afforded us some good “we/us” time.
Embarkation—We each traveled separately from our home in Naples, FL to the NY Metropolitan area to visit various family members. We met up in CT. Complicating my trip was a sudden and painful back injury which tempered some of our pre-cruise, familial activities. DW was a great nurse pre, during, and post cruise, and I was lucky to be with her (she’s been carrying me throughout our marriage anyway, so I think she’s used to it) LOL! On Sunday 8/28 we drove from CT to Newark to drop off our rental, then took a short cab ride from Newark airport to Cape Liberty ($70 including tip and tolls). We arrived at the terminal around 10:40. The check in and embarkation process was extremely quick and easy and we were on board by 11:00. It was swift and painless, the way we like it! For the first time ever, we ate lunch in the MDR as part of our Concierge Class perks. It was very good. The sail away under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and the views of NYC from NY Harbor were tremendous and made us homesick (DW is from Upstate NY, and I grew up in Sleepy Hollow, about 35 miles up the Hudson from our departure port).
Ship—The Summit, which debuted in 2001 is what we called a “Goldie Locks” ship. Not too big, not too small. It was just right. It has the layout and amenities of a larger ship, with the feel of a smaller cruise liner. There are no real bells and whistles on the Summit. The décor is modern without being “boutique.” The ship is elegant throughout. The Cosmopolitan Dining Room is a beautiful, 2 story layout covering the aft area of Decks 4 and 5. The Café al Bacio on Deck 5 was our favorite hangout for quiet entertainment, lattes, biscotti, and gelato. DW liked the Martini Bar/Crush and the “gourmet” martinis. Write your name in the ice that covers the bar. It was pretty neat. The Rendezvous Lounge on Deck 4 was nice for live entertainment. Cellar Masters Lounge on Deck 5 was a perfect place to enjoy a glass of vino while watching a classical duo perform Vivaldi, Brahms, and Chopin. The Casino has all the stuff you want, but the size limits the amount of table games they have. It was still nice as casinos go. The Emporium Shops on Deck 5 were not overly priced and had many nice items for purchase. Typical raffle activities in this small area made it very exciting at times! The 2 story Celebrity Theater had the feel of an old Vegas style venue with bench seating for two with tables. It’s nice for having an evening beverage while watching the shows. Revelations Lounge on Deck 11 forward was the spot for late night fun with music from live bands and tunes spun by DJ Gio. He was a hoot during the music trivia contests they staged there during the day (we actually won one of the contests)!
Outside, the pool deck (Deck 10) was crowded on sea days, but not overly so. If you’re looking for a little more peace and solitude, head forward to the Solarium (adults only) and the Thalassotherapy pool and hot tubs. The Solarium Café was a buffet with “healthy” choices for breakfast and lunch. The Rooftop Terrace on Deck 12 aft was a perfect place to hang out and watch the giant screen TV with movies and concerts shown. They have really nice outdoor furniture to make it feel like an outdoor living room. The only bad part about it is there’s no food and beverage service there. You have to go down two decks to the Oceanview Café or Sunset Bar to grab some refreshments.
Overall, the ship was clean and well maintained. Sure, there are some rust spots here and there, but it didn’t bother us. It’s all part of normal wear and tear for a sea going vessel. In no way should a little rust ruin your vacation. It’s not worth it.
Crew/Staff—We truly loved the crew and staff of the Summit. We were a bit disappointed when we found out that Captain Kate McCue was on vacation, but were quickly taken with her replacement, Captain Alex Papadopoulos. He and his officers were very communicative, friendly, professional, and very approachable. Captain Alex is also quite the comedian and we loved his sense of humor. The officers were also quite fun. They (including Captain Alex) routinely play pool volleyball against some lucky guests. It was a really fun time had by both guests and officers. Cruise Director Chris Sweets and Activities Director Luigi were upbeat, fun, and informative. The staff of the Summit all had smiles and always said hello/good morning/good afternoon/good evening.
We truly appreciated Captain Alex’s communication on his decision to depart Bermuda 9 hours early in order to get out in front of Tropical Storm Hermine. His letter delivered to our cabin, his ship-wide announcement, and his videotaped explanation of our course and timetable to Bayonne showed his professionalism and concern for the safety of his guests and his crew. While we lost a little time in port, we took it as an opportunity to enjoy another Sea Day and all the activities that go along with it.
Activities—CD Chris and his staff did a wonderful job of entertaining their guests with a variety of typical sea day and port day activities. The Celebrity Today daily planner was packed full of interesting things to do. Trivia, dance classes, cooking demonstrations, cooking challenges, interactive crew gatherings, art auctions, shop sales, raffles, outdoor movies and concerts, wine tasting, galley tours, and spa related activities were always scheduled and we never found ourselves bored or starved for something to do. Summit is not all tricked up with waterslides, rock climbing walls, carousels, bowling alleys or famous burger joints. Therefore, more of a traditional cruise experience exists on the Summit. We took advantage of these scheduled events more than we ever have on any other cruise and were glad we did.
Wi-Fi—Celebrity XCelerate Wi-Fi was very, very good. We were able to FaceTime from anywhere on the ship including our cabin and balcony. We were able to call, stream, post, text, and upload pictures and videos with little problem. Our GO BEST package included 7 day Wi-Fi for two. While in Bermuda and away from the ship, we utilized Verizon Travel Pass for $10 per day per phone and were also treated to excellent services and reception.
Service—We found the service on Celebrity and the Summit in particular to be outstanding. The entire crew and staff were quite attentive, positive, friendly, and accommodating. Our room steward Maria in our Concierge Class balcony state room was especially aware of my need for a constant supply of ice in our cabin to nurse an injured back. She was prompt with morning service and evening turn down, and the added treat of afternoon canapes was truly appreciated. While we had different waiters in the MDR due to Celebrity Select (anytime) dining, they were an excellent resource for nightly food recommendations, Bermuda must-sees, and provided tremendous service. They were truly interested in us as much as we were interested in them. They made us feel as if we’d known them for years. The bartenders, waiters, and waitresses throughout the Summit were all very pleasant and helpful.
Of particular note was the helpfulness of a Guest Relations staff member (name we can’t remember). Upon our return to the ship on the second day in port, we were informed the ship would be leaving early due to the projected path of Tropical Storm Hermine. We had rented a scooter for 3 days and were never made aware by the scooter company that they had a late night key return similar to those of rental car companies. Since the ship was leaving at 7:00 AM the next morning, we would have been unable to return our scooter to the office (really only about 500 yards from the dock). The Guest Services representative contacted the scooter company for us and arranged to have the keys to be retrieved through the Celebrity Port Agent for Bermuda. We actually waved good bye to our scooter from the Sunset Deck aft on sail away from Bermuda! Guest Services truly jumped on the grenade for us.
Staterooms—As mentioned earlier, we were upgraded from a 2B balcony stateroom to a 2C Concierge Class stateroom, #8086. The room was larger than we expected, with a flat screen TV, vanity, ¾ size couch, table, refrigerator, and a good size bathroom. The shower was larger than others we have had and the sink/vanity area had many storage areas. Storage throughout the cabin was great, and the faux wood finish made the room seem rather elegant. The balcony was approximately 5’ X 9’. It had some rust on it, but hey, it’s an ocean going vessel and by no means a deal breaker. Our room was truly an oasis at times for me while nursing my injured back. We were very pleased with this room all around.
Dining—We found the food on the Celebrity Summit to be quite good all over the ship. Each day we ordered room service for breakfast on the balcony. It was typical Continental variety along with some hot egg dishes to choose from. We regularly ordered the yogurt parfait, some seasonal fruit, croissants, assorted danish, and their tasty Lavazza coffee. It’s always a nice way to start the day. A cheery phone call from cabin services alerting us to the arrival of our food also served as our wake up call for the day. The main buffet, the Oceanview Café, had many different entrees and goodies from excellent pizza, sushi, fish and chips, carved roast beef and turkey, omelets, and many heavenly desserts that were quite tasty. The burgers at the Hotdog and Burger bar were really good. They were big, thick, juicy and ready to be gobbled. The Solarium Spa Cafe offered some healthy salads and smoothies (fee).
The Cosmopolitan Restaurant (MDR) provided us with a truly excellent dining experience. The menus varied each night and there was always something to treat the palate. There are three “permanent” entrees each night and the daily selections usually included fish, pork, chicken, beef, and pastas. All entrees and appetizers were scrumptious! We really like Select(anytime) dining as it affords us an opportunity to meet new wait staff and passengers from nearby tables each night. We met some really nice people because of this.
For the first time on any of our cruises, we did not eat in a Specialty Restaurant. The Tuscan Grille had a very nice menu, but did not bowl us over. QSine on Deck 11 seemed as if it would be more fun to experience with more than just 2 people since we heard it’s all about sharing each culinary concoction. We did not try Bistro on 5 either. We did eat one night off the ship in Hamilton that more than took the place of the Summit’s offerings, which we’ll touch upon later. It’s not that we didn’t want to experience the Summit’s specialty restaurants; it was just that the Cosmopolitan was really serving fine food and offering a great experience.
Children’s Clubs—No kids with us so nothing we can report on. We did notice that nearly all the children on board were well behaved and rarely unattended.
Entertainment—DW and I felt the entertainment onboard was outstanding. The house band “Bandmates” could really rock and played everything from disco, classic rock, salsa, and pop. They were great at getting everyone up and dancing. The classical duo was a nice alternative to hard charging dance music and provided a relaxing hour of entertainment every time they performed. Acoustic guitarist, Pete Henry sang everything from James Taylor to Jewell and was very good as well. We truly loved Peter Rosetti ‘s piano playing and vocals. We watched him every night. We missed both comedians in the Celebrity Theater, but were treated to a wonderful magic show and production show by Marcus Terrell who danced and belted out tremendous Motown tunes.
Bermuda—Day 1 Bermuda--Having heard so much positive information about Bermuda made us wonder if it could actually live up to all the hype. It did! After 2 sea days, we stationed ourselves on our balcony for our arrival at King’s Wharf at 8:00 AM. We were giddy with anticipation after seeing the most beautiful waters we’ve ever seen including those in Hawaii and many Caribbean Islands. Also for the first time, we planned no organized excursions and set about to tour the islands on our own. We were off the ship by 9:15 and headed straight over to Oleander’s Cycles to pick up, suit up, and train up for our 3 day scooter rental. After some brief instruction, we were out to explore the Royal Naval Dockyard and head to the southern and central part of the islands. After a quick jaunt around the Dockyard to get our bearings, our first stop was Church Bay Beach. Here we found a gorgeous, virtually desolate beach down the hill from South Shore Road. The beach was nearly empty and the sand was pink and beautiful. We snorkeled for about an hour with maybe a dozen or so other folks. It was wonderful. There are no services here except for outhouse style changing rooms so bring some food and H20 if you plan on staying for an extended period of time. We then motored along South Shore road and came upon Horseshoe Beach. It’s the largest and most popular with “visitors.” It was very crowded and we just hopped up on the rock outcroppings to snap some photos and take some video. We then used the rest of the afternoon to tour Warwick and Southampton parishes via our scooter.
After a quick shower aboard the Summit, we then boarded the ferry to Hamilton to experience the Harbor Nights Festival on Front Street. We ate dinner at the Barracuda Grille above the Hog Penny on Burnaby St. It was an excellent choice and rated #1 by TripAdvisor. It was expensive, but well worth it. After dinner we enjoyed the street festival and purchased some wonderful local artwork and jewelry. A lovely night time ferry ride back to the Dockyard gave us some time to have some night life fun on the Summit.
Day 2 Bermuda—We loaded our trusty scooter on the ferry to Hamilton in the morning and set out on our adventure to explore St. George’s and the towns and sights of the Eastern parishes. We headed directly to the Crystal Caves north of Flatts Village. It was truly amazing. We did about a 35 minute tour of the sight and it was well worth the cost ($20 roughly). We then headed up past the Swizzle Inn on our way toward the far reaches of St. George’s. It is a lovely town on the far end of the islands. We stopped at Ft. St. Catherine’s for a tour of the fort. Right next to the fort is Ft. St. Catherine Beach. It was a gorgeous beach and no one was there! Head here if you want some solitary beach time. We then made our way over to Tobacco Bay Beach. It was also very nice. There were a lot more people there as they have a bar/restaurant/restrooms/beach rentals, etc. We did some wonderful snorkeling there. The Smokehouse Burger at the restaurant was big enough for both of us to share one.
Back on the trusty scooter, we made our way along the North Shore road and enjoyed the sights of the East End. We hopped on Harrington Sound Road and made our way on South shore Road to our next destination, the Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse back in Warwick parish. The leisurely trip took about 45 minutes and was one of the most beautiful rides we’ve ever taken. The houses, landscapes, and seascapes are truly outstanding. We climbed up Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse ($3.00? ea.) and were treated to the best views of Bermuda. You can see from the Dockyard all the way up to St. George’s. It’s a must do if you have time. We popped into Henry VIII’s for a Dark and Stormy and a Pellegrino (me) and motored back to the Dockyard for some sightseeing and shopping. The Clock Tower Mall, the Bermuda Glass Works shop, and the shops and exhibits at the Cooperage were all worth popping into. Don’t Miss the Frog and Onion for the best Fish and Chips. We were going to have dinner at the Bone Fish right next to the ship, but for some reason decided not to. Shortly after we returned to the ship around 6 PM, Captain Alex announced that the Summit would be leaving King’s Wharf early in order to beat the effects and projected path of TS Hermine.
We departed Bermuda at 7:00 AM on Friday 9/2 and began a rough steam back to Bayonne. Seas were 6-9 feet and it was pretty tough going. Saturday 9/3 the steam back to Bayonne continued, but the ride was much smoother. Captain Alex had put enough distance between the Summit and the advancing storm and was able to decrease the ship’s speed which made for a much smoother ride.
Disembarkation—We arrived back in Bayonne at 10:00 PM, which was nine hours earlier than scheduled. Passengers spent the night on the Summit and began the disembarkation process at 7:00AM. Since we were booked on a Celebrity transfer to Newark airport, we had one of the later times to leave the ship. After a quick, but hearty breakfast in the Oceanview Café, we waited our time to depart in the Celebrity Theater. We were off the ship by 8:45 and at Newark airport by 9:30 to wait for our flight back to FL. The process, including Customs and transfer, was quick and easy.
Summary—We truly loved this cruise for many reasons. Cruising out of Cape Liberty afforded us some wonderful views of NYC and NY Harbor. It is truly one of the best places to cruise from view-wise. Bermuda is a fantastic destination and a must see for those who’ve never been. We definitely want to revisit and can see ourselves going back many times. It was wonderful to spend two nights in port and not have to worry about racing back to the ship. It also provided us with the ability to try to experience things that were off the beaten path. “Travel like a local”, like Rick Steves likes to say.
We were also quite impressed with The Summit and Celebrity in general. The Summit is a wonderful ship. The size, décor, and layout truly suited our tastes. This was the first time we sailed with Celebrity and were extremely happy with how we were hosted and treated. Celebrity does just about everything well. Elegance with a fun atmosphere would be the best way to describe it. If you’ve never been to Bermuda, sailed out of the NYC area, or tried Celebrity, we would highly recommend all of them and in particular, this cruise. You won’t be disappointed.
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|Cabin / Stateroom||Nice, spacious, and well laid out. Plenty of storage, and a nice size bathroom|
|Embarkation and Disembarkation|
|Destinations and Excursions|
|Service and Staff|
|Food and Dining|
Cafe al Bacio mid ship deck 5 is a great place to unwind with a cappuccino, biscotti, and gelato. It's a wonderful atmosphere and has great views of the sea.