Review of Hawaii 10-5-2012 cruise on the Celebrity Century In reading this review please understand my perspective. We are in our late fifties and I am a certified sommelier and an Italian trained chef currently working on the strip in Las Vegas.
I read a lot of questions about the distance from the airport to the ship in Los Angles. It takes about 15 minutes and cost about $11.00.
The wife is disabled so our boarding time is very short maybe 15 minutes if you do the on line check in.
Once on board I was busy with the wife and apparently missed the Champagne offer. We went up to the Aqua Spa cafe for lunch and waited about 45 minutes for the rooms to open. We have never sailed a Century class ship but were very pleased with the condition and cleanliness of the ship.
We area big fans of the specialty restaurant Murano so one of the first things I do is make reservations for the first night. I tried to make the reservations on the internet but it said that the only reservations available were 8:30 or later. Pay no attention to the internet. You can make your reservations when you board. The internet also offered a 20% discount if you dined the first night. We got it even though we did not book on the internet.
The plan was to go down to the MDR and meet our table mates and then go to dinner at Murano. That did not happed because we were given a table for 2 instead of an 8 top. I got that fixed the next day.
It is my custom to have a fresh red rose on the table for the wife for our first dinner. Not only did we get a fresh new rose the first night we got one on all 7 nights we dined there. We also got fresh roses daily in our cabin. This was over the top service.
It is also my custom to have a .375 bottle of Chteau d' Yquem. I enjoy the wine with dessert and their sauteed foie gras. To my disappointment the last bottle of the wine was sold on the last cruise and the menu was changed omitting the foie gras. I had to settle with a Vidal Blanc and sauteed crispy pork belly. It was great but not the same.
We are always looking to cut a few calories when we cruise so we have lunch and breakfast in the Spa Cafe. The offerings are very unique while being healthy. Although it is not well advertised, the staff is more then happy to prepare from a list of Ala Cart items for lunch and a great egg white only omelet for breakfast.
The service we received at the Aqua Spa was superb. One day while I was waiting for my wife, I skinned and cut up a ripe Kiwi for her. The assistant in the dinning area saw me do this and I never had to do it again. He would have the Kiwi waiting for her and I never said a word.
On another occasion they had just run out of a quiche that really looked great. The manager took notice and the next time it was served, he bought some down to our cabin personally.
Being Elite cruisers does have its advantages. The open bar with little bites to eat before dinner was a plus.
The coupons that were in our cabin did end up saving us some cash. I do not know if they were to give us 2 sets of them or not but I used nearly all of them to there fullest. I even made $20 playing roulette.
If you are looking to use the internet while on the cruise, you have to remember that this is an emerging technology. The connections were slow and intermittent.
One of the highlights of the cruise and there were many, was dinner at the Chefs Table. We were to have dinner with a few other guests at a table in the galley during service. Unfortunaly, the other folks had to cancel so we ended up with a special dinner in Murano with the Food and Beverage Director and the Head of Guest Relations. It was a very memorable evening and we were presented with a signed copy of the Celebrity cook book. I am already Â½ way thru the recipes.
All is not perfect in the world we live in and neither was our cruise. On one dinner at Murano my Loup de Mare was not to temperature and on another the Grand Marnier Souffle was late being served with the other dessert.
The big opportunity came with our cabin. When we first got to the room it smelled a bit musty. I thought this is OK because the ship is 17 years old and I can handle it. The smell just got worse. I mentioned it to the cabin attendant and he did what he could. It got so bad that I was having trouble sleeping at night. We talked to guest relation and they offered us a Sky Suite but the bath room was too small for the wheel chair. I ended up meeting up with the Chief of house keeping at the Happy Hour and told him of the issue. With in 20 minutes there was a team of workers assessing the issue. The next late morning while we were leaving the cabin a team of workers descended on the cabin. They were in the ceiling, in the hall way, taking up the carpet and removing the cabinets and removing tiles in the bathroom. The problem was resolved that day. When I talked to the head of Guest relations he told me that there is not a problem that can not be solved as long as there is indeed a real problem. He said that some guests just complain to complain with out there being a real problem. He said those guests are his biggest challenge.
To this day I do not know how I attract the ships senior staff to me but it always happens. I had the privilege of having the company of the ships Executive Chef almost daily. He is from India and although he works an 18 hour day he always took time out to sit with me and talk food for sometimes almost an hour. What a fabulous experience.
One evening we were had dinner in the MDR and I had a lamb stew that I did not care for. I told him and the next night he made the most delicious curry lamb we have ever tasted. He even e-mailed me the recipe.
We bought the unlimited non alcoholic beverage plan and found it was not a value. We kept track of what we drank:
Full bottles of mineral water 45
With the tip added, this totals $425.00. The package cost for the two of us $621 for a difference of $196. Although it was nice not having to sign a bill every time I had a coffee at the Cova Cafe I found no value in this package.
Leaving the ship took about 45 minutes and we were not offered a privet lounge for elite members.