As our only other cruise experience was a mere 8 months ago, we thought we'd give an inexperienced cruisers review for other newbies.
We sailed out of Miami on Christmas Eve. Our flight arrived at 8:05 am and the first bus to the port departed at 10:30 but we easily found Alfonzo at baggage claim who quickly helped us, even with our bags, to the right door and even helped us with our transfer arrangements, even though he was there for a different ship. Check in was quite quick and took little time. The ship wasn't ready for embarkation so we sat in the lobby for about 30 minutes until we were allowed on board around 11:30am, but we were met with champagne on deck 6 when we stepped on board. The rooms weren't ready until 1pm, so we sat on deck and drank a Bahama Mama and read until the rooms were ready. We carried on our clothes and essentials and only checked our dive gear. Miami was cloudy and rainy so not much sun on departure day.
There's not really a grand atrium on Century, so if you're looking for something like the Grand Foyer from Titanic, you'll be a bit disappointed. The main atrium is on decks 5 and 6 and emcompasses the coffee bar, the three small shops and the staircase.
Our room was a Century Suite, which was FANTASTIC. If you can splurge for it, it will make your cruise. Our suite was aft on deck 10 and the balcony was easily half the size of our room. The only thing that may deter you from the century suite is that it's directly below the bar/deck that's near the buffet and if other passengers are at the railing, they can see you below. That being said, our butler, Ezio, was amazing and so attentive. We were met by a bottle of champagne chilling in the room. Ezio had champagne chilling and brought tea and hor'doeuvres everyday. We didn't really use him to his full potential as we are a teacher and work in retail, so we're not used to having a butler.
Our dinner seating was the early seating at 6pm. Our table was 525 and was two tables away from the captain's table, but he ate at the later seating, 8:00pm, so we never saw him at dinner. As an unsophisticated cruiser, I find it odd that you can't get cokes or tea or even beer at dinner service. But I'm learning that's the culture and you just get over it. The service was done by Vanja, from Croatia. Service was a tad slow, but not for the lack of her working, I just think it took a long time to get the food from the massive kitchens to the tables. I mostly at beef, except the last night, I chose the phyllo dough, artichoke, and pecorino cheese dish which was my best meal in the main dining room. I haven't found the food on either cruise fantastic, but there certainly are massive amounts of it available any time of the day. My travelling companion found that the soups were her favorites and my favorites were the cheese courses.
Christmas Day we chose to eat in Murano, the specialty restaurant, which was a nice treat as we are not normally formal dinning type people. The service was the nicest part of the meal. The twice baked goat cheese was amazing and the tastiest thing on the ship. Marcia got the Steak Diane, which was prepared at the table and I got the scallops and lobster. Hers was better than mine as most seafood, I found out, on a cruise has been frozen. New cruiser...lesson learned. The cheese course was my favorite course during that dinner. Also, skip the soda package and drink the lemonade at the Island Buffet!
The ship didn't feel crowded, even at meal times. You could almost always find spots at the pool and on the upper pool deck, save for the last day at sea. But NCL was much worse as far as crowding around the pool. Poolside service wasn't aggressive or pushy, but was available whenever you needed them. There are two pools and 4 hot tubs, but the pool was too chilly for me as I am a wuss.
The casino was fun and not too crowded and was smoke free. No big payout for either of us, but it's fun to sit and waste a few dollars doing something different. I did notice that there was not a lot of waitstaff in the casino for the slots, so if you wanted a drink you had to go the bar and get it. Shopping was ok for us on board. We are tchochke shoppers and we like to find candy that's not available at home. Very few tchochke's and junk and no candy. Marcia got some nice earrings and I got a fossil watch, but that's about it.
I can't comment on the spa or gym as I prefer reading and NOT exercising in any way, shape or form when I'm on vacation.
Debarkation was a little weird as the Port of Miami changed things when we arrived. Normally, you go out with your luggage "color" group (we were green and set to debark at 8:40). But Miami decided that they needed ALL of the luggage off the ship before anyone could debark. So we were about 50 minutes debarking, but those assigned for earlier departures had to wait almost 2 hours before they could leave. Not the ships fault, but annoying, nonetheless.