I know everyone wants to hear about the ship, so I will address it first. The ship is lovely. Lots of polished wood and brass. If it were not for the hideous choice in carpeting patterns, I'd rate it higher. Maintenance is good, though we did encounter a strong aroma of cleaning preparations at times in several public areas. Everything is spotless. The cleaning crew are on the top of their game. Being a smaller ship, Century was easy to get around. The only difficulties were on deck 5 where there is some kind of wall that forces you to go up a deck, across then down again if you are not using the grand staircase. As we were on deck 12 aft, we had to cross open deck to get to the lounge in the bow of the ship. In bad weather we had to go down to deck 10 and walk from aft forward to take the forward elevator to deck 12. I knew about it in advance and it wasn't really a problem, but I'm relating it for others who might not be aware. The bed in the cabin was wonderful. The sheets were smooth. There were creaking noises but ships do that.
Embarkation was not pleasant. I had called the port of San Diego and was told that if we arrived at the port after 11 AM we could get to the porters on the dock. This was not true. The cab was forced to dump us outside of the gates and we had to await a pedicab which cost us an additional $15 to get us and the luggage to a porter. I have a husband with mobility problems and there was no way he could drag luggage behind him. Two minutes after we paid the pedicab, they opened the gates to taxis and shuttles.
We asked for a wheel chair for my husband, as requested on our special needs form far in advance, and were told by an attendant that we would be better off walking as the wait could be an hour or more. The walk was a bit more than we were advised and difficult for my husband.
Finally arriving at check in, we mentioned our disappointment to the woman behind the counter who called over a supervisor. The supervisor acknowledged our concerns and laid the blame on the stevedores offering her apologies. We asked if we should wait for a wheel chair to board as my husband has significant difficulties with up-sloping ramps. We were told there was an elevator and no ramp. This was not true. There was a ramp and it was very difficult for my husband. It had to be among the worst embarkations we've ever experienced.
The sky suite was quite large and the veranda was huge. I was pleased by the amount of storage, especially in the bathroom. It was nice to not have to use my over the door shoe bag for a change. I liked the huge, jetted tub in the bathroom and used it a couple of times. There was a DVD player and after a couple of days they installed an iHome which was great. I plugged my iPod into it so we could listen to music while we sipped some wine and ate some cheese on our veranda in the late afternoon.
I found that there was barely enough hot water in the early morning and late evening, when more people were apt to bathe. I called maintenance about it early into the cruise and was advised to let the water "circulate" (run) for a while but it did not improve. I have to believe that this is a design flaw and I'd suggest that if the ship is refitted, there be a separate bank of boilers for the higher decks.
The cabin attendant, Gratiela (sp) was delightful. The butler did not impress me with his personality or, more accurately, lack thereof.
We had to go to dinner the first night without the luggage having arrived and I was more than a little disturbed. Being an Elite member of Captain's Club and in a suite, one is advised by the cruise line to expect priority luggage delivery. The luggage was not there until after dinner. I like unpacking before dinner and having the evening free, but this was not possible on this cruise so I had to unpack in shifts before and after the show.
Things got better after the first night. I "borrowed" a sticky mat from the vastly over-crowded gym and did my Yoga and Pilates workout on my lovely veranda most mornings. I sleep with earplugs when I'm away from home so I did not hear the loud footsteps until I went onto the veranda to exercise at 6:30 AM. Every morning there was someone clomping on my head. The track above the deck 12 Sky Suites is supposed to be walking only, but people ignore signs. After day 3, I went to guest relations and politely suggested that they rope off the deck until 7:30 AM so as not to disturb the Sky Suite guests. A few days later we were asked to meet Jimmy at the guest relations desk where he advised us that they "had a meeting" and would be closing the deck in the early morning as the Sky Suite people should not be disturbed. He gave us a generous gift of apology which was quite unexpected and most unnecessary, but gratefully accepted. The early morning quiet was very much appreciated.
Food in the main dining room was good, not great. It amazed me how the same menu and ingredients could be prepared with such a difference in outcome on different ships. We were at table 661 which was in a corner of the upper dining room. Our waiter, whose name I don't even remember, was effective but not at all engaging. Either he was a smoker or hung out with smokers before coming to work because there were evenings where the smell of cigarette smoke clung to his clothing and threw my appetite off. Our assistant waiter, Nikola, was adorable. He made an effort to engage the guests with his charm and delightful smile. I was thrilled to find that he also worked at the pool grill where I was served my hot dog with a huge smile. We gave him an additional gratuity and I delivered it to him at the grill so the waiter wouldn't see that we gave an extra tip to his assistant. The sommalier was wonderful and we listened to her recommendations which were excellent. One bottle of wine did not meet my expectations and it was removed and replaced without a blink. She got a gratuity. The bar waiter had my sodas ready for me every night, too. We had an envelope for him, but couldn't find him to deliver it. All in all table service was good and I most certainly did not starve. The bread was excellent and most of the meals were tasty and well prepared, if not over the top. Presentation was excellent.
Gratiela and her helper took excellent care of our cabin. She was always pleasant and cheerful addressing me by name in the hallways. Very refreshing when the crew know your name and stop calling you "madam"
After waiting one morning for longer than I had for an espresso from the butler and having to leave without it, getting a latte after waiting 20 minutes another morning when I had ordered an espresso, I had a little chat with the butler. After that I got my espresso at 7:30 AM every day. We also got cheese plates with the cheese we wanted in the afternoon and clean wine glasses. We didn't really need a butler and will probably not get one again unless we get another free upgrade to a suite. Room service and a cabin attendant would have done just as well with less cost. We did make use one day when we threw a graduation party for the hula dancers and ukelele player in our little group on our veranda. We got extra wine glasses and more cheese and fruit, but, again, a butler wasn't really needed for this.
The sailing was a bit rough, but I am one of those persons who recognize that I'm on a ship and ships have a tendency to roll on the waves. I've never understood people who cruise and expect the ship to be as stable as a hotel in Disney World. I did hear some fellow passengers complain about the tendering, but we had no problems at all with the tenders we were on.
The highlight of the cruise was June, the Hawaiian Ambassador. We learned several hula dances and lots of interesting information about Hawaii and Hawaiian culture. We also learned to make kakui nut leis and bracelets and ribbon leis. There were classes on other crafts on the return voyage to San Diego, but I didn't attend. June gave the hula dancers a gift of painted nuts for attending all of the classes. She is a huge asset to the itinerary and I intend to write to corporate to commend her. If anyone takes this cruise in the future and June and her ukelele guys are there, get involved in the activities. It's a special experience and not to be missed.
We did two excursions with Celebrity and they were both excellent. We went on The Adventure to Hana on Maui and had an excellent guide in our van. The scenery was beautiful. We learned so much about Maui and Hawaii. The other excursion was a waterfall adventure on Kona. I was not sure if my husband could manage this so I asked Francine, the excursion officer, to find out for me. She emailed the company and left me a detailed message on my phone that she was advised that it would not present any problems. It might have been a bit much for him, but at that point, the tour guide just had to wait for him to catch up as I explained to her that her company had assured the cruise line that there was no problem. We both enjoyed the trip. I was impressed with Francine's assistance and professionalism.
The shows were either great or not so good. The comedian in the early part of the cruise was just awful. Very noisy and not very funny. He seemed to not have a script and was reaching for material. I thought the married couple, she was a singer he played vibraphones were okay. He was a bit more impressive than she. We missed the pianist when we ate at Murano but heard he was excellent. The ventriloquist was fabulous. The production shows were wonderful. Colorful costumes, energetic and talented young people and a couple of acrobats that were amazing. We enjoyed all three production shows but the last one was really the best.
Most nights we attended the Elite cocktail function and the service was adequate. One evening we came a little later than usual as we were meeting two other couples before dinner at Murano and we sat for over 20 minutes without being served drinks at all. I did mention it to the hostess, but it was too late by then.
Murano was a bit of a disappointment. In an effort to be edgy, they messed up perfectly good food. We were all turned off by the foam business. Foam on the escargot tortallini. Foam on the mushroom "cappuccino" and foam on the turbot. None of it was appreciated and the jokes went round the table about the dishwasher missing a rinse cycle. It took three and one-half hours to complete dinner. We were having a good time with great company so it was not noticed, but we did miss the show and we did spend too much time at the table. There is no rest room near Murano and I had to go up one deck and walk around to find the lady's room.
We got to tour the bridge and I got to tour the galley. Both tours were interesting. The bridge tour was offered to our entire Cruise Critic Connections group. I thought it was a lovely gesture by the cruise director.
We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise director and his staff of lively young people. I had a great time at the fifties and sixties theme nights. The game shows were predictable, but very funny. I won the Jeopardy-style contest and I supposedly have the record high score for Century. My husband played just about every trivia game offered and only took a couple of gifts as we already have so much logo junk at home. I played quarter at a time video poker for 45 minutes and came out with my original $20 bill so I consider myself a winner.
We tried the Persian Garden and it was lighter and prettier than the M ships, but not impressive enough to pay for.
Quite a few passengers came down with upper respiratory illness on the cruise. I got it a few days before debarkation and my husband got it the last day. We saw our physician and are now getting respiratory treatments and injections for three days to be followed by a course of antibiotic oral drugs. Several of the crew seemed to have gotten it, too.
We met some wonderful people on board and made new friends whom we will treasure for ever. We loved Hawaii and learned about the beautiful places and interesting culture of our fiftieth state. Overall, we had a great time and were very happy with our experience. We certainly got good value from Celebrity. I would sail Century again with a different itinerary.