This was my first trip on a Celebrity Cruise and I was very impressed. Here are my comments on each individual category of the trip:
The Ship - this is the last year for the Celebrity Century and you can tell it is an older ship. On the top two decks (espeically the 12th level), there is repair work that is very obvious and honestly looks pretty bad. On the whole, though, the ship is beautiful and I saw people working to keep it looking neat and clean at all hours of the day.
Dining - After having sailed on a Carnival ship recently, my expectations for the food were pretty low, but the food here was spectacular. Each night a different food item impressed me from the beef carpaccio to the rack of lamb to the creme brulee. The breakfasts were very good, but they could be a bit repetitive. The dishes that were there, though, were all prepared very well.
Entertainment - we only saw two shows, the one on the first night and a comedian on the third or fourth night, but both were very enjoyable. The comedian in particular gave one of the funniest stand up performances I have ever seen.
Service - This was another highlight of the trip. The housekeeping staff was extremely receptive to any request. On the first night, we asked for feather pillows and they were delivered immediately. Our wait staff also was exceptional. The first night or two was a bit rough from a communication standpoint, but by no means bad, but after that they were exceptional as they began to understand our tastes and made recommendations from the menu. Our sommalier also was very helpful as he talked with us about the wines we chose and encouraged us to attend wine classes on the ship
Activities on the ship - The focus of this trip was on wines so i was pleased to see a number of wine related classes. All of them were very educational, with the highlight being the Wines around the world tasting on the last day on the ship, where two wines from 6 different countries were available for sampling.
Excursions - This was one of the bigger disappointments of the cruise. As I mentioned earlier, my wife & I booked this cruise in no small part because of the excursion to Sonoma that was offered. To our extreme disappointment on our first day we were told that the excursion was cancelled. I knew full well that any excursion can be cancelled, but it seemed to me untimely to get onto the ship and find out this news, as it negated some other tour options we could have pursued. I was even more annoyed when the cruise staff informed me that this excursion is often cancelled due to lack of interest. My recommendation to Celebrity would be to highlight those excursions that are cancelled with some regularity and mention that in the packet of information. When signing up for these tours online, they could also state that they need a certain number of participants to have the tour and list how many have registered. Although the tour I mentioned above did not happen, we rearranged our itinerary and took a wine tour in Santa Barbara which was fun, and then went on an excursion to Muir Woods with a trip to Sausalito afterwards which was excellent.
Ports - This cruise stopped at Santa Barbara, Monterey, San Francisco, Catalina Island & Ensenada, Mexico. Other than Santa Barbara, I had been to all of these locations previously and have enjoyed visiting all of them immensely.
This was my first cruise with Celebrity but it will not be my last. Although not the lowest cost cruise line, the quality of service and food make this an excellent vacation option. I look forward to anotehr trip with Celebrity in 2015