I’ll begin this review where I ended my last one of the Celebrity Century in May, when I said we intended to re-board the Century, for its’ Hawaii cruise out of San Diego in late October. And so we did. My wife and I wondered if returning to the ship would live up to our high expectations, following our previous back to back cruise in May.
As before, we departed from London Heathrow, Terminal 5, on another BA flight. There is still no executive lounge for anyone other than the most frequent flyers on BA, and incredibly, yet again, we had a problem with the in flight entertainment system , however that turned out to be the least of our problems, as we discovered upon arrival in San Diego that our luggage was soaking wet. It had been left out in the storm that preceeded and delayed our departure from London.
We immediately emailed BA, but to date we have heard nothing. Yet another example of the contempt with which BA appear to treat their customers.
Anyway, on to the embarkation process in San Diego, which just as before, was speedy, efficient and hassle free. We continue to love the way Celebrity allow you to board the ship early, even if the cabins are not ready.
Our cruise got off to an eventful start when a passenger became ill four hours after our departure from San Diego, and the ship had to return to port. The whole episode cause a delay of around nine hours so all credit to the Captain who still got us into our first port of call in Honolulu, five days later bang on time.
Obviously there is a lot to see and do in Honolulu. We have been there several times before so we decided just to take the hop on hop off Waikiki Trolley bus tour through the city this time. Here is a tip for you, if you decide to do this, don’t pay $38 on the ship for the ticket through their shore excursions, as it is only $2 per ride if you buy the ticket on the trolley itself, so you could stay on the trolley for a round trip if you wanted to, around one of its’ three routes.
Whilst I am on the subject of tour excursions and the cruise itinerary, our next port of call was Kona on the Big Island. Once again, we took the green trolley bus, both North and Southbound and it only cost us $2 each which is clearly great value for money.
Third stop was Maui, and again we would recommend booking your own tour. Our next stop was on the other side of The Big Island, Hilo, which was a beautiful place, full of character, but be warned, where the Century docked was nothing more than a building site with no amenities.
The final stop on the cruise before returning to San Diego was Ensenada, but owing to poor weather conditions, we got there late, and only had two hours, so we never left the ship.
As regards San Diego, we got married there, many years ago, and it remains our favourite holiday destination. It’s a fantastic city, and if you have the chance to go there you should, as it’s a beautiful place with so much to do.
Now onto our cruise experience for the second time on the Century. As with our previous cruise on this ship, the crew were very friendly and helpful and nothing was too much trouble. They have a saying on the Century "Your home away from home” which could sound a little twee, but actually it’s true, and we do regard the ship as our home away from home.
We fell in love with the Century, the first time we were on it, and our fears that it may not be as good the second time around were unfounded, as this cruise experience was even better. There are rumours that this ship is to be sold, we really hope they are untrue.
Onto the basics. We had an inside cabin on deck 9 and it was perfectly adequate and clean, though we were disappointed that they no longer had Sky Sports News on the TV, and we would hope they could sacrifice one of their many US news channels to cater more for their European clients.
There were always plenty of activities going on and it was great to see a naturalist on board who gave some very interesting presentations. The ship’s gym remains the best equipped that my wife and I have ever seen on a ship, although the stretch and abs classes were over-subscribed, and it might have been better if they had been moved to a bigger space.
As regards the food on the ship, and here is an example of nothing being too much trouble, the food was of a decent standard, although it got a little repetitive. So when we found out that the Head Chef was from the Phillipines, we asked if we could try the national dish which is something called Adobo, and we got it the next night. Later on in the cruise we asked if we could have an Indian meal, and once again they made it for us. We also had shepherds pie by special request. I’m not sure you would get that kind of service on a big ship.
Another thing I would like to mention about Celebrity is their excellent ‘Captain’s Club’, which surely must be the best loyalty programme in the cruise industry, and it is certainly a contributory factor in our decision to sail with them. Once you reach the top level, you receive ninety minutes free internet each, free laundry, and two and a half hours of free cocktails every day, as well as a number of other offers.
The reason we feel ‘this is our home away from home’ is that the staff always remember you, even staff you have met on other Celebrity ships, including one barman who we had met eight years previously on the Azamara Quest and not seen since. Talking of great staff, Lise, the Assistant Guest Relations Manager; Alexandra, the funniest waitress on the seven seas; Ervin our Assistant Waiter, who went out of his way to make us nicer coffee every evening; Joey, the Shore Excursions Manager, and Kenyatta, the Assistant Maitre’D, who even made me pancakes by special request! They all deserve a special mention.
And finally, the disembarkation, we decided to go for the ‘walk off’ carry your own luggage option, and were off the ship in minutes.
Our next cruise may be on another ship, but we will certainly return to the Century again.