We just returned this week from a glorious Inside Passage trip on the Celebrity Century. Without a doubt this was one of our best cruises ever.
Century is the oldest ship in the fleet, and the smallest. We had sailed her earlier sister Ship (Mercury) a couple times on a similar itinerary. So we knew her layout pretty well and knew what to expect.
Century is not an M-Class or an S-Class ship, but is in fact a "Century" class ship. At the time, she was built (1995), she was considered one of the best ships on the High Seas. Today, with all of the improvements on larger ships, she is a bit boring in comparison. But that was not a problem for us, for her staff, service and elegance more than made up for her lack of the latest widgets. She is classy!
Embarkation: Pretty effortless, except that the security check point at Canada Place (the pier) had a pretty long line. Once you get into the Celebrity Area, it was smooth sailing. We were on board within minutes, sipping Champagne as Celebrity always greets you with a glass.
Stateroom: We opted for a "Suite Guarantee" when we booked, as they were highly discounted and not much more than we would have paid for a standard Veranda. We got a Sky Suite on the Penthouse Deck. This was our first Suite on Celebrity, and so we also got the additional butler service, bottle of champagne, nightly snacks, afternoon tea, super expensive soaps...the works! If you can afford it, I highly suggest the Sky Suite. Our balcony was huge! The room itself was small in comparison to say the Superior Suites on HAL, but were suitable for our needs. The water pressure on the shower was GREAT, as was the Whirlpool Tub. Only thing missing was a rubber ducky
Service: OUTSTANDING! From the stateroom attendant to the butler to our wait staff...it was flawless. Service from those guys was about the best of any cruise we've taken. Kudos also to the computer staff, the concierge staff, the Aqua Spa staff, and the Michael's Club staff !
But, I would have to qualify the overall service a bit however. The Cova Cafe staff were just average and a bit distant and really, really slow. And the Activities Staff left me quite cold. Just as a for instance, we went to our first trivia contest on the first sea day. The Activities "dude" shows up 15 minutes late (looking hungover), plays around with the projector and just says, without apology, "I overslept". Excuse me! You have about 25 people waiting for a scheduled activity and that's the best you got. This attitude carried over throughout many of the activities, and was not "Celebrity" material, IMO. I would have made an issue of it, but we were just having too much fun to care. Bar service was about average.
Cleanliness: One of the cleanest ships we've seen. They also have Norovirus fully under control as there were signs everywhere about washing your hands, using towel to open the door, etc and they enforced the Purell spraying of your hands at all food stations. We had a clean crowd anyways.
Food: We had early dining (6-615pm) and a great table with 2 great waiters. Amazingly we were finished with dinner NLT 730pm every night. The food was good, but not great. We were spoiled during the early years of Celebrity. A few dishes did stand out: Blackened Salmon and Veal Cordon Blu were excellent. My wife enjoyed the Vegetarian Entrees almost every night. We opted for Murano for our 10th Wedding anniversary. It ranks as one of our best eating experiences ever. The Goat Cheese Souffle and Escargot Tortellinis were out of this world good. Wife said the broiled Pear with Roquefort cheese may have been the best thing she's ever eaten. She had the Lobster Tail and I had Dover Sole. Murano is worth every penny.
The buffet food was about average for today's ships. Nothing special, although for breakfast, the Eggs Benedict station is a stand out. We also enjoyed the Indian Selection for lunch, which the offer every day. Pizza was excellent as was the home made ice cream
Fellow Passengers: We're American, but the ship's guests were probably about 80% Canadian. That was nice, as we love Canadians. This was a special cruise in that about a third of the staterooms were booked for the annual Royal Canadian Mounted Police general meeting. What an incredible group of men and women they are. We were fortunate enough to be invited to the Captain's Table for Dinner, and had a great experience with some Senior Officers and with some RCMP. All the passengers we me were lovely.
Ports and Sites: We went pretty low key on this one, as the weather was quite cold and a bit rainy, and we've been to Alaska several times now. We did a tram/heritage center combo in Icy Strait. Loved it! Icy Strait is as close to the real Alaska as you can get, as there was only our ship in this sleepy town. Juneau and Ketchikan were the other ports. We got off and explored a bit, but that was it. Hubbard Glacier was exceptional, with some extreme calving and our ship getting within about 1/2 mile of the face.
Elite Status: This was our first Celebrity Cruise with Elite Status. It was awesome. Michael's Club is open for private breakfast, Cappuccinos, etc from 8-10am and a FREE happy hour from 5-7pm. I cannot say enough how great that was. Also, you get free laundry, dry cleaning, Internet, shirt pressing, and so many perks I couldn't use them all. Celebrity, by far, has the best frequent cruising system of all the cruise lines.
Overall Impression: The ship is older, but classier than the other Celebrity ships we've been on. Service was exceptional. Our personal perks were insane! A great cruise experience. One other thing that people have mentioned: The officers were everywhere and made an effort to get to know us. In fact, one of the officers at our Captain's Table dinner (Laura, the HR Director) knew that the next night we were celebrating our Anniversary at Murano's. She sent over a bottle of Champagne and came over to personally greet us during our dinner. Now THAT'S a nice touch.