Right from the start I new we were in for a great cruise. Checking in took all of two minutes. No long lines and very friendly staff. Filled out the usual papers and we were on the Century in all of ten minutes. Definitely a record! We have been on 20 + cruises and 10+ on Celebrity and this one is certainly at the top.
We boarded just in time for lunch about 12:30, went to our cabin first to see if by chance it was ready as it was only one floor above the Lido dining area and surprise, all ready so we left our carry on bags and headed down for a little lunch. The Lido was comfortable and not too busy at all. Unlike the Solstice class ships which are often mob scenes. We found a table and got a nice lunch. Great food, fresh salads, nice servers and spotlessly clean. This area was a real sour spot on our last cruise on the Eclipse. Rude staff, filthy tables and so crowded was this area on the Eclipse that this was a very nice surprise. Oh and no loud music blaring at us from the over head speakers, just nice soft background music so easy to have a conversation. Kudos to the staff off on the Century for realizing that most of us like to have a conversation during meals. We had lunch here all but one day. Never too crowded always clean and just super staff. From this moment on things just got better and BETTER!
No Elite cocktails were done on the first night as usual so we decided to head to Cova and have a drink and people watch and listen to a super group, The Sound Track Trio, a wonderful latin jazz group. So into their music and so talented these guys quickly became our favorites of the many, many bands on the Century. Several nights they had Jam sessions with other band members from other bands of the ship. All I can say is WOW! You would pay big bucks in any city to see such talented performers and this was all free. There was more great talent and bands on this little ship then any of the larger ships. Great drinks were served here not just coffee though that was super too. Best part was Manuel Fernandes, one of the servers here at Cova, after ordering one drink from that moment on through out the cruise when ever we walked through this area he would make a point of calling us by name, asking how our day was, having a good time, anything I can do for you. Superb hospitality considering how many drinks he must serve in a day. Simply Amazing!
Despite what some may say the Century still is in excellent condition. The only real wear we saw was on the furnishings in the Crystal lounge which according to the Captain are to be replaced during the coming dry dock. Everything else on the ship was spotless and beautifully maintained. She may not have all of the wiz bang gizmos of the newer ships but she is a very lovely traditional cruise ship in wonderful working order.
The dining was spot on everywhere on the ship. Excellent food, superb service and spotlessly clean. We had the most professional waiters ever and a truly super Asst. Maitre'd. I always wondered who they were and what they did but not with this one. He was there nearly every night making sure everything was just right. The second night he asked if we had any other problems and one of our tables mates mentioned a strange noise in her cabin disturbing her sleep. He got on the phone called someone and it was resolved before she went to bed that night. No kidding. And again, soft lovely background music, made conversation at our dining table easy and pleasurable. Why do some of the other ships feel a need to bombard us with loud music? None here. Even the Martini bar had a bit softer music. Could it be that Celebrity is listening?
We had five days at sea before Hawaii and again after. No shortage of things to do on board. The cruise Director John Grantham had everything covered from Zumba to crafts to music and everything in between. Never a dull moment. But also he was never in your face. Everything was done with style and class and a healthy dose of fun. He is now my favorite Cruise Director, sorry Sue Denning!
What really makes the Century unique is her service and HOSPITALITY. Hospitality is something that is being over looked and lost on the newer and bigger ships. They are beautifully designed but cold spaces with the hospitality being overlooked in running these massive ships. What you get on a smaller ship such as the Century is true care and concern for the guests and their happiness. The Captain was ever present greeting and talking with passengers. The superb Hotel Manager Sheldon Thompson was everywhere leading by example for his hard working and super friendly crew. Have a question or just simply want to chat, feel free. He is so approchable and so friendly. He also leads the crew volley ball team! He and the captain run this ship as if they personally owned it and it was their private home.Kind of like being in a nice B&B. After the first day so many crew members were calling us by name greeting us everywhere. Wishing us a good day, can I help you, anything you need or I can do for you. I can not say enough good things about so, so many of the crew. I will simply say that the crew on board the Century easily, easily put the crew on the Eclipse to shame. I can only hope that Celebrity will read this and take a few lessons from the great people on the Century and apply them to the larger ships soon.