I booked my Alaskan cruise aboard the Celebrity Century in December and have been reading reviews for months and was in a mild panic over the ships condition. I enjoy a little luxury and choose to not stay in hotels that are considered less than 4 stars. From what I had been reading online, the Century was anywhere between a 1 star and a 5 star. Reviews were inconsistent and I was worried.
I have taken 4 cruises over he past two decades. My first cruise was on a Royal Caribbean ship at was a month old, which raised the bar quite high. I have sailed aboard Royal Caribbean three times and Carnival once. The Carnival cruise was a farce and I vowed never to sail with hat company again, as one should be very concerned when Ensenada Mexico smells and looks cleaner than your cruise ship. I have heard that Celebrity is a step up from Royal Caribbean and was very much looking forward to some "modern luxury" and great food, as we are a bit snobby when I comes to food. This was my husbands first cruise and both of us were unsure whether he would like it.
My husbands and I spent 3.5 days in Vancouver before the cruise started and arrived at Canada Place at approximately noon on Sunday, 6/16. Boarding was relatively easy and painless and we immediately walked abut he ship upon arrival. I was very apprehensive about what I might see as I do not do well with shabby and unkept quarters. After thoroughly walking around on every deck, I must ask, "What are these people complaining about?!" There were some areas on be deck that had clearly been patched up and reprinted, but since this was on a SHIP and is constantly exposed to harsh weather conditions, sea air, salt water, etc., OF COURSE normal wear and tear occurs and then it gets fixed. I did notice that some couches had faded fabric. These we located in a section of the ship with huge windows that funneled in bright sunlight, so again, OF COURSE they show signs of wear. Nothing was dirty, nothing looked unkept or messy. My fears disappeared right away. The Century is not the Four Seasons in looks, but is definitely comparable to a nice Hilton or Sheraton.
We signed up for the Persian Gardens in the Aqua Spa at $198 for the week per couple. This was our first indulgence and I am all for a heated chair to relax in while looking out over the clean. We did use these every day, often 2-3 times per day, along with the wonderful Turkish bath, sauna and aromatherapy steam room that are also available in the Persian Gardens. I finished 3 books during the week and spotted a pod of 20 orcas playing in he water while I relaxed in the stone chairs.
The food was definitely a step up from other cruise lines, but we ate in Murano the first night in celebration of our wedding anniversary. A bit of a mistake, as then the offerings in the main dining room seemed to be just okay, but really, it was very good and so much better than what I have had before. Murano was to die for and we ended up taking advantage of a deal to dine there 3 times during the cruise at a reduced rate. Ivan, Olga, Carlos, Osmond and Roxana were fabulous and had us laughing in between every phenomenal course. We loved the Aqua Spa Cafe for breakfast and lunch. Healthy offerings, small portions, and a great staff. Agus and Olga were very personable and we enjoyed chatting with them every day.
The cabin size and available storage were also a big step up from what I have experienced previously. It was clean, decorated in an appealing manner, had great amenities and Aledo and Michael were fantastic and provided exceptional service.
We spent most of our evenings in Michael's Club. Carlos Avalon was very entertaining and the bartender, Florin, was excellent. He remembered my favorite drink from the first time I went in and I loved that he would smile and say, "The usual?" when I walked in each night after dinner! We felt very welcomed there each night and often saw the captain enjoying his evenings here as well. The Martini Bar was also nice; we participated in the thrice daily trivia contests here. Hemispheres was a great place to relax, read, visit with new friends, and look for whales. Naturalist, Milos Radakovich, http://www.kusp.org/temp_doc/milos.html was on board providing daily lectures and information. Some of his jokes were a bit corny, but the information was excellent and appreciated.
The ports we visited we Icy Straight Point, Juneau and Ketchikan. I opted not to go ashore in ISP as the wait to board the tender was 3.5+ hours. My husband went ashore and took some photos while I read on deck. We enjoyed the beauty of Juneau and took an amazing whale watching trip with Harv & Marv Whale Watching Adventures http://www.harvandmarvs.com. Russell was our guide and we enjoyed a whale watching trip with 3 other people and saw orcas, multiple pods of humpback whales, Dahl porpoises, seals and bald eagles. It was a highlight of the trip! We have been whale watching in Southern CA. and Hawaii and this surpassed both. We enjoyed lunch at Tracy's Crab Shack, http://www.kingcrabshack.com which was wonderful. Ketchikan was rainy and overcast but the flight with Michelle of Island Wings http://www.islandwings.com was amazing. We flew through Misty Fjords, above the clouds and enjoyed beautiful, clear skies. We had lunch at Annabelle's http://www.gilmorehotel.com/annabelles.htm when we saw many members of the crew inside. We figured that this was a good sign that it was the place to be! The service was terrific, the halibut tacos were yummy, and as we were leaving, we noticed that the captain was dining next to us!
The weather on our trip was pretty much perfect! I packed 5 sweaters and wore one. I wore a light coat two times. The sun was out almost every day and the sunsets were breathtaking. We were able to get within a half mile from the Hubbard Glacier and that was AMAZING! Apparently, it is also quite uncommon. I was surprised to see so many officers and the crew out and about every day and evening. I have not experienced this on other cruise lines and it was quite nice. We had a wonderful time aboard the Celebrity Century and would sail on her again without hesitation. My husband did enjoy cruising and we look forward to vacationing in this manner again soon.