This is a paid partnership with Celebrity Cruises but this write-up is based entirely on my own experience.
72 hours in the Caribbean might just be the most extravagant trip I’ve ever done. A whirlwind that was over before we knew it.
The background to the trip is that I was invited on behalf of Celebrity Cruises to experience their newly revamped and reimagined Celebrity Summit - a spectacle of a ship that has undergone a multi-multi-million pound investment, taking it to the next level in design and luxury. Sounded like an interesting invite to me (I’ve never been on a ship before so was keen to see what it would be like to see whether a cruise would be for me) and then I was told the sailing (a special media & trade only preview sailing) would be happening in Puerto Rico.
Sign me up!
And so, with everything signed off, I found myself on a plane bound for the US. And many many hours later, arrived in Puerto Rico for what was going to be an action-packed three nights.
Given the brevity of the trip, I’m afraid this won’t be a comprehensive guide to San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital.
With only a couple of hours to spare in the morning before we boarded the ship, there wasn’t much time to see all that much of San Juan however I had just enough time to wander the streets of the Old Town which were completely charming. Bright, beautiful, colourful facades that put Notting Hill to shame with more than a touch of Spanish style around every corner. If you’re a fan of art deco inspired architecture or spotting #AccidentallyWesAnderson then San Juan could very well be somewhere you should visit. I was there in early hours so didn’t get to experience the capital come to life but instead got to enjoy having the old town (almost) to myself.
Told you it was a beautiful spot, didn’t I?
But that’s enough of San Juan (that’s as much as I saw too), let’s get on board!
I think it’s fair to say that cruises come with a certain amount of pre-conceptions. Usually people associate them with flocks of the older generation or think it’s all about being dressed up to the nines dripping in sequins, jewels and all the jazz hands. Celebrity Cruise quash these pre-conceptions immediately.
After a speedy, easy boarding process you’re on-board. Time to head to your cabin.
I stayed in one of the ship’s staterooms and was genuinely impressed. It was a lot chic-er than I was expecting with muted tones that complemented the calm which you felt in the room.
Spacious too. There was even a desk and a two seater sofa, should you require an array of seating options in your room. But for me, there was only one place I was going to be spending time (bed aside) and that was on the balcony. If someone were to ask me what my favourite part of the cruise was, I’d say it was waking up at 7am in the middle of the ocean. Surrounded by absolutely nothing and hearing nothing but the sea. It was truly so calming, grounding and peaceful - I’d go on a cruise again just for that moment alone. One morning I woke early and watched as we sailed into close proximity of the BVI - seeing it within swimming distance was amazing, sadly though we couldn’t get off!
Once outside your room, it’s a big decision as to where to go next.
Could it be time to soak up the sun on the main pool deck? There’s plenty of seating choice so what’s it to be: lounger, pool, hot tub?
Perhaps visit The Retreat sundeck designed by Kelly Hoppen MBE (and available only to suite guests) to enjoy some quiet soaking up of the sun?
Or maybe you’re feeling peckish and need to visit one of the ship’s 11 on-board restaurants? With powerhouse Chef Daniel Boulud as Global Culinary Brand Ambassador, you know the food is going to be something else. Even the buffet served daily in Ocean View restaurant was a sight to see - counter after counter of food from around the world. I tried to do it justice but it got the better of me every time. It would have taken a good week or so to ensure you’ve sampled all of its delights.
If none of the above, then it’s definitely time to get yourself to the newly transformed Canyon Ranch at Sea spa. Try the oxygen boost facial to help revive and rejuvenate the skin (which after a lot of travelling and different time zones, my skin was definitely in need of). I was worried this would be something similar to the likes of a hotel spa which can sometimes be just about relaxation and cleansing the skin, rather than giving me immediate results but my therapist really knew her stuff (and even gave me a high five when I told her my routine - I was personally proud of this) and was able to identify the areas of my skin that still needed some work. I left with healthy, glowing skin.
If all that’s to do during the day (and more!), then what is there to do during the night?
Plenty. Evenings are filled with entertainment. Everything from workout classes to music nights, there’s enough to keep you busy for your entire sailing should you wish. On the first night, we were treated to an evening of a world first ballet performance from American Ballet Theatre who have partnered with Celebrity Cruises on select ships - you’ll also be able to join dancers for intimate seminars, ballet barre classes and even enjoy unforgettable excursions to ABT performances in some of the CC’s ports of call. We were also treated to a performance by the most insanely amazing violinist (whose name evades me - sorry!) but she made me want to turn back time, just so I could learn violin from an early age. Sadly, I think I’m going to have to stick with being musically un-talented.
Whilst I didn’t experience a true cruise experience, I did get a glimmer into life at sea and can see why it’s such a popular holiday choice. I like the idea of being able to see a number of destinations on one trip and on a normal passenger sailing, that’s exactly what you get to do. I was truly really impressed with the new Celebrity Cruise Summit. Design was well thought through and contemporary without being clinical, entertainment was first class, you could dine on deck whilst watching the waves below and each morning you woke slowly on your balcony, soaking it all in.
A whirlwind trip over, thank you to Celebrity Cruises for having me along for the ride.
Join Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Summit for an 11-night Bermuda and New England fly/cruise departing Cape Liberty on 16 June 2019 from £2,789 per person in an Oceanview Stateroom (based on two people sharing).
The 12-night holiday includes flights from London Heathrow; one night’s pre-cruise accommodation; an 11-night cruise departing from Cape Liberty (New Jersey, USA) and calling at King’s Wharf (Bermuda) for an extended two-night stay, Boston (Massachusetts, USA), Bar Harbor (Maine, USA) and Portland (Maine, USA) before returning to Cape Liberty for the flights home; meals and entertainment on-board the ship and all relevant cruise taxes/fees.