My wife and I aren't new to cruising, but this was our first cruise with Celebrity Cruises. It's all about the itineraries with us, but most of our prior cruises are with Princess Cruises so in the future, it doesn't really matter which line we sail on; it's whether or not that line offers the itinerary we want. All in all, I think the loyalty programs across all the lines don't offer what they once did so that's not really a dealmaker for us that it has been in the past.
We live in San Diego, so it was nice to be able to only spend about 25 minutes to get to the cruiseport -- and only 25 minutes to get home. I'm not going to write a terribly LONG review as most of the recent Century reviews are pretty spot on -- for the most part. The reviews that complain about the food in the Main Dining Room, I really wonder whether these people were on the same ship recently, as we found the food EVERYWHERE on the ship to be exceptional -- and, while Princess Cruises cuisine is superior to most lines, the food on the Celebrity Century in our opinion was a step ABOVE that of Princess Cruises. We had dinner one night in Murano to celebrate my birthday with some new-found friends, and that experience was well worth the cover charge. We'd have to recommend doing that at least one night during the cruise. Had the "Surf and Turf" in Murano (though it was very nicely done), and have to admit that the lobster that we got on the last formal night in the Main Dining Room was far superior to that in the Murano, but the Murano really isn't just about lobster. The tableside preparation and those exquisite dishes that are served there are something to behold. DO get the Goat Cheese Souffle, for sure!!
As far as the crew goes, aside from a slightly rocky start with one individual working in the Martini Bar, the crew couldn't have been more friendly and attentive. There really wasn't one person on the crew that didn't acknowledge you when you passed them in a hallway or in a venue.
Spend a lot of time in the Cova Cafe as it's a great hangout during pretty much the entire day when you have some downtime and need an excellent coffee drink, alcoholic or not. Speaking of drinking, we opted for the classic beverage package and weren't disappointed and got really more than our money's worth. I think it comes out to about FIVE drinks during the day to break even on the cost of it. That includes ALL soft drinks, coffee drinks, fresh-squeezed OJ, bottled water, beers up to $5.00 and glasses of wine up to $8.00. We had some friends that opted for the premium package which gave you wine up to $12.00, but the drinks offered in the classic package were adequate for our needs.
We had a Deluxe Verandah cabin, and I think we are probably going to go back to an outside cabin. Really didn't spend a LOT of time on our patio this cruise -- however we do like to have the door open with the sound of the ocean coming in during the night, but several nights, they were offloading the Gray Water during the night, which required closing the door to the patio. Not exactly raw sewage smell, but that hydrogen sulfide gas smell wasn't pleasant at all. And then a few mornings out at sea when they were power washing lifeboats and chipping paint starting at about 8:00 in the morning also necessitated the closing of the door. One of the couples we met had an outside cabin and we did somewhat of a cabin crawl after lunch with several other couples to check out a lot of different cabins and realized that those outside cabins -- that we used to sail with before we got the verandah "bug" really wasn't such a bad deal after all. Sure, it's lower on the ship (no problem with us), but it's a LOT quieter so I think that's how we're going to roll from here on out. Why not save several hundred dollars.
I did complain about the noise and Guest Services couldn't have been nicer and sent a bottle of wine to our room for the trouble so that eased that little incident somewhat.
Other than that, the only other complaint really that we have with Celebrity is the horrific tender service provided in two of the four ports (Lahaina and Kona)... long waits for hot crowded tenders that we dubbed the "Diesel Queens"... you get the picture. If you have a chance in both ports, opt for the open air tenders... your brain will thank you for it. This is one area where Princess Cruises is FAR superior is with their tender service.
That's about it. We had a great time, met some great people at our Traditional Dining Room table of 8, and some great people through Cruise Critic. Cruise Critic is really great for meeting new friends, some of which we keep in contact (and visit with here in San Diego) to this day from cruises past, and but for the CC idea, we never would have had the privilege of knowing.
Kudos to Noel and Camellia serving us at Table 522 and Jelane pouring all that wine (late dining). They all did a FANTASTIC job. It's amazing how friendly the crew is every two weeks and how they keep that attitude FRESH during their entire contract!!
Other crew of note (just in case the powers that be are reading this) are Carlos (F/B manager), Puspita (server in Cova Cafe), Shea (bar manager on his first contract -- you wouldn't have known that if he hadn't told us), Brandon (bartender in Hemispheres), Darshan (bar server), Galyna (social hostess) -- oh, and how can I forget the Captain (he was everywhere you looked and as affable as can be!!!). I'm probably forgetting a few folks of note, but really everyone was great!! This goes to show how memorable THESE people were because I remember them all by their first names from memory without having written them down.
I give Celebrity Cruises a definite "WILL CRUISE AGAIN" rating!!!