We just returned from our March 29 Pacific Coast sailing. It was wonderful. My overall rating is 4 1/2 stars, although the format only allows for 4 or 5 stars. Century is sort of stuck in the 90's which is good and bad, but mostly good. She is a much more traditional cruising experience, without all of the bells and whistles of the solstice Class ships. She will be retired in 2015, as apparently she does not fit into the Celebrity vision of "Modern Luxury" I can understand that decision, but she will be surely missed by many of us as she is the closest living example of what Celebrity cruising used to be.
The Ship: It is showing it's age and the long dry dock that was scheduled and then cancelled did not help to remedy this. That being said, it is still a very elegant ship and the staff kept it impeccably clean. The public areas are not crowded. The Grand restaurant, Foyer and Crystal Room are beautiful places to behold. There was a public toilet upstairs that was not working on disembarkation day. Bad timing! The ship design is a bit weird as you cannot go from Level 5 to the level 5 dining room without going back up to level 6. And there are no bathrooms outside of the Hemispheres (observation lounge) unless you go outside to the pool area. The Aqua Café is a gem as is the fitness area and Spa.
The Food: Not much different from 2 years ago when we last sailed her. There were good meals and just fair meals in the MDR. Buffet was just okay, as it had been 2 years ago. Here are the details:
Grand Restaurant: The best meals in MDR were the Lobster Tail on Formal night (absolutely succulent) and just about every fish dish. Cherries Jubilee and sorbets were great desserts. Soups were not as good as I remember them in the past. Two Beef Dishes stand out: The Beef Medalions and the Beef Wellington. Escargots are still offered every night, whish is great (and something the cost cutters have not cut out yet)
Murano is EXCELLENT! In Murano, the Venison was incredible, as was the Murano Lobster and the Dover sole. Also the Dessert Soufflés are to die for. Allow 2 hours at least for the meal, and do not forget the CHEESE offering, before dessert.
Breakfast Buffet: Try the eggs to order, the omelet station and the eggs benedict station. Aqua Café is a great breakfast alternative, but do not tell anyone. It is very quiet which is nice.
Burgers, fries and dogs smothered in fried onions in the pool area were really excellent.
The Staff: Still about the best staff we have seen on any cruise. The service was excellent. There were officers everywhere. The Captain sat down and talked to us for 20 minutes. The Restaurant managers were on the ball. Our waiter, butler (Sky Suite) and stateroom attendants were superb.
The Ports: Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Monterey, Catalina and Ensenada. Being a native southern Californian who was schooled in northern California, I have been acquainted with the cities for some time.
They are all unique and nice places however. The Tendering service went fairly smoothly, but could be time consuming depending on when you try to depart. Note that SUITE guests do not need to wait for a tender ticket. That is a GREAT perk that is not really advertised anywhere.
Entertainment: Was just average, but one comedian (A.J.) was hilarious.
Miscellaneous: Trivia was excellent with 4 contests per day. We won a LOT OF CELEBRITY BLING! Bingo was not so good. Just 3 cover-all games and not that exciting. Casino was a rip off. If you do go to the casino, stick with the tables. I warned you.
There was evidence of Celebrity cost cutting:
1) No more classical string quartet or trio (That really sucks!)
2) No more a capella groups (not missing that too much)
3) No more Midnight Chocolate extravaganza (gone a long time ago)
4) No more Grand Brunch
5) No more High Teas (or maybe one "low" tea)
6) Elite cocktail hour used to have GREAT snacks ...not anymore
7) Less or no free snacks/peanuts during bar service
8) Much more work for the stateroom attendants, etc...
9) Baked Alaska and employee recognition ceremonies were nearly non-existent
We still had a GREAT Celebrity cruise nonetheless, despite the cuts. There is something about this crew and service that despite it not being as great of a cruise as it could have been, it was still quite good.