I booked this cruise because it was a good value, didn’t require a flight or any planning from me. It’s also the only week-long Pacific Coast cruise. The Celebrity is a small, older ship, built in 1999, and accommodates about 1,500 guests (I think). I heard that the ship will be retired soon. I wouldn’t say that it looks shabby or worn, but the ship doesn’t seem to have kept pace with changes in the cruising industry. As for demographics, we found a lot of couples in their 50s and 60s, representing a range of countries and languages. Not many children (the line doesn’t emphasize their needs, although there are kids’ programs), and not many non-mobile elderly passengers.
Stateroom – We had outside stateroom #4016. It was a quiet location near the medical facility (which didn’t do much business, so I guess no Norovirus on our journey). We often smelled cigarette smoke in the hallway (but not the room), which I believe was drifting up from the crew floor just below us. Our room was kept clean – it seemed like every time we left the room, we returned to find something straightened or freshened. There was a ton of storage in the room. Two closets for hanging clothes, a third closet of shelves and drawers, six drawers at the vanity, storage behind the vanity mirror, and each bed had its own two-drawer bedside table. There would have been plenty of room for a third person.
Food - The Century has one general dining room, one premium-cost dining room, a buffet, a grill by the pool, a health café (AquaSpa), and a coffee/snack bar (Cova). We ate all of our dinners and one lunch in the dining room. The food was … fine. Very few dishes were outstanding and getting the asked-for cooking level (rare to well-done) was a nightly issue. Menus were not terribly inventive, and side vegetables were served in garnish-like portions. The bread basket varied a bit each night, but we were never told what breads we had from night to night. The steak on the “always available” menu was very good, as were the lambchops, veal chop and pork chop. The waitstaff was very kind, and managed to be attentive without being intrusive. Dishes were not always served at the same time, and as our table of 8 waited until all were served to begin a course, food served early often cooled before all were served. As per my usual reviews, it’s definitely possible to eat Paleo (no grain, no dairy, no sugar) in the dining room. You can double up on a meat-based entrée, ask for extra vegetables, and you can always request berries for dessert.
In the buffet, where we ate breakfast and lunch or a snack in the afternoon, several stations offered the same “meh” menu. Pasta, salad bar and pizza were offered from noon to 10 p.m. I saw one whole-grain pasta. The pizza was quite good! Pepperoni, cheese, and veggie were offered daily, along with a daily special. Burgers, dogs, and other items at the poolside grill were cooked to order, and pretty good. Disappointingly, the Cova Café offered only pastry items. Morning items differed from afternoon/evening items, but daily selections were largely the same – I really wish they had the appetizers/small sandwiches I have seen in the Cova on previous cruises. I did not eat in the AquaSpa, which had a limited menu and was open limited hours. Free items included granola, cereals and stewed fruits. Greek yogurt parfaits and smoothies were available for a charge. No Greek yogurt available elsewhere on the ship – boo!
Entertainment – Bands and solo entertainment groups were pretty solid, and it was a pleasure to see people actually dancing on this cruise (although the public spaces didn’t include any large dance floors). The party band/dance band (Headlines) was best when backed by the “orchestra” (saxes and trombone, really). Bartenders were all personable, efficient, and well-schooled. Get the Spanish Mule! Delicious, and available as a Happy Hour special. The public spaces were all large, which was great – ample chair and table space, ensuring that there’s room for all without crowding. However, the Century Singers and Dancers – bless their hearts – were lackluster at best. Their shows seemed similar to a fairly high quality high school production. They were not well attended.
Gym – This ship had one of the better gyms I have seen on a cruise ship. There was a fairly comprehensive set of weight machines, about 10 treadmills, several ellipticals, and three recumbent bikes. No rower, and no pull-up bar or pull-up station. The gym was equipped with several exercise balls and BOSUs, yoga mats (and those thicker mats, too), and exercise bands in various strengths. There was a section with dumbbells up to 50 pounds, and two benches. There were spaces on the floor with enough room to stretch out and do what you needed to do without getting in others’ way. There was a small wood-floored space for group classes that fit about 8 participants. I took a few of the free group classes – they were only 30 minutes long. The routines themselves were challenging if you did moves correctly and to specification, but the trainers never worked with participants on form or made any corrections. The room included a drinking fountain, gym towels, and a fridge of chilled towels.
Tendering – On this itinerary, three ports were accessed by tenders. At each of these ports, the tenders ran far behind schedule – hours behind schedule. That was extremely frustrating to passengers who booked the cruise as a way to see California in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (lots of Europeans onboard). All we ever heard was that there were “challenging conditions.” On the last day, disembarkation ran behind schedule as well, which caused some anxiety among passengers with planes to catch. I don’t know if there’s a larger organization and time issue embedded in these problems.