We had never cruised before, and usually favour independent travel, so when we booked our Alaskan cruise with Celebrity, it was with slight trepidation - were we the cruising type? I knew we would be amongst the youngest onboard, at 30, but that didn't faze my partner and I - it was more the idea of being confined in one place and the luxury holiday camp atmosphere that I was unsure about.
I needn't have worried - our first cruise on the Celebrity Century was fantastic, excellent value for money, and I have very few criticisms of either the ship or its super-friendly crew.
Embarkation - very smooth and super quick - we were on the boat within half an hour of arriving at Canada Place
Cabin - we opted for an inside cabin, and it turned out to be more roomy than I expected, with a large shower and a high standard of decoration. We could hear a little noise from the neighbours, but no other disturbances in 9123.
Dining - we much preferred the main dining room to the buffet, as we found the buffet could be a little warm and crowded. However, the standard of food in both was very good. We tried Murano's on the second night, and had a great meal, worth the extra Â£50. Our only disappointment was the room service, more for the ordering process than the standard of the food.
Entertainment - although the style of entertainment on the ship was not our usual taste, we enjoyed the shows, and performances by the musicians. I probably wouldn't have watched some of them if I wasn't confined to the ship, but the standard was pretty high and perfectly targeted at the 50+ age range. I particularly liked the effort that the performers and entertainment staff made to interact with the cruisers, which gave a warm, friendly atmosphere. Our favourite spot was probably the Cova Cafe, where you could sip a coffee, or wine, while listening to a performance, and taking advantage of complimentary cakes and pastries. There were lots of activities to join in with - we tried wine tasting, and went to a few talks by Milos, the onboard naturalist. We also watched a few films in the cinema, including some recent big hits which we hadn't got round to watching before.
Ports - we called at Juneau, Ketchiken and Icy Straight Point, and cruised the Hubbard Glacier. All were excellent, but we did spend a lot on some really cool excursions. I would say that ISP is the one place where you need to do an excursion to get the most out of the visit. The Captain did a great job of getting us super close to the Hubbard Glacier, and we saw some fantastic calving.
Staff - the staff onboard the Celebrity were on the whole very friendly, and went out of their way to keep you happy. Most seemed genuinely happy to be there. A special shout out to the Cruise Director, John Grantham, who was excellent, and a real entertainer with his stuntman stories, and joining the band as a singer and guitarist for the party nights.
Condition of the Ship - she's an old ship, but still in good shape. Some of the windows in the restaurant, and on deck 11 where the loungers were, could do with replacing, but otherwise, I had no complaints. If I was being picky, I'd like to see more variety in the decor of the bars - they're a bit samey in style, apart from the Martini Bar which doesn't really fit with the rest of the ship. We didn't use the spa, or the pools, but both looked great.
Overall, our first cruise was a great experience, and I felt that a lot of that was down to Celebrity which as a company seemed to be very focused on quality and customer service. For the rate we paid, the cruise was excellent value and I would certainly cruise again with Celebrity given a suitable itinerary.