Background Information: We chose this cruise as a quick break from winter. Others in this price range included 3 and 4 night NCL sky, which, while a good value, is not great for ballroom dancing and had more impersonal service. We have cruised on Holland, RCI, NCL, and wanted to try Celebrity. In tow was our 22 month old toddler with her own newly found opinions and expectations. Hotel Info (if any): Stayed pre cruise at Hyatt regency, booked on price line for less than $100 total including tax and fees. Ship Info: The Century is a smaller ship. We were afraid to book due to her age, but with the exception of a few spots with visible wear, she was very contemporary and elegant. The ship was incredibly well maintained. She did have a smaller foyer... which did make the ship feel a bit more enclosed than some of the previous ships we have been on. The pools were a bit small and the children's club was a cave (in this regard we actually liked the NCL sky better, especially since the Century lacks a small children's pool and sun lounging area). Our room was contemporary with a bowl sink and a nice flat screen, more like a boutique hotel. Dance floors were small, but overall the ship was a pleasant surprise. The area by the pool was a huge disappointment due to chair hogs and non confrontational pool stewards- half empty all day it looked like a sea of yellow towels. My poor daughter couldn't understand why she wasn't allowed to sit in all the empty chairs. Felt like half a day was wasted. It did lack a proper promenade and there really wasn't anywhere to jog other than the treadmills- 14 times around the smokestack that was also used by walkers does not make a good running area. The treadmills had belts that were too narrow for the machines. I almost flew off when the boat rocked from a wave and my foot hit the area where a belt should have been (almost no treadmills with an ocean view, my favorite luxury at sea). Smokers were also allowed in the hemisphere, which made what should be the best view in the house uncomfortable.
Activities: Dance lessons, Yoga, ballroom dancing, movies (that I hadn't heard of or didn't really care for), and all your generic cruise activities sans hairy chest contests. Service: Excellent service with only one or two exceptions (see pool comments above). Easily approaches or surpasses our favorite line, Holland. Constantine was an excellent waiter and in tandem with Wiarta, kept my Daughter highly amused with mice, frogs, talking ducks, and flying birds created from paper and cloth napkins. We originally wanted to swap to early dining for our daughter's sake, but were so impressed by the waiters that we didn't want to risk getting waiters that we wouldn't like as much. Our room steward was excellent, ice was always in supply and he kept our room clean and tidy (sadly no towel animals to discover in the PM). The ice cream lady, Betty, was a joy to talk to. Nice touches included a chilly snack offered poolside and chilled wet washcloths available in the gym after workouts.
Port & Shore Excursions: See notes below. Did not book through the ship.
Summary: Overall an excellent surprise. I believe this ship should be rated higher than the cruise critic rating. If you want a more refined experience at a very modest price the Century is your ship. Best for couples. Families with children will also be pleasantly surprised, but understand that this will primarily be a cruise for adults vs. a family vacation. The staff is incredible with your children, but the modern facilities just aren't there. The first line that can give me both a refined adult experience with better facilities for my daughter will easily take my business. Think RCL with Celebrity or Holland America's service. That being said, my daughter kept herself amused easily and I would not hesitate to sail on Century with her again. The 5 night cruise was just about the perfect length for cruising with a toddler and a kind dining room waiter will beat out a water feature any day, IMHO. Stateroom: Contemporary with adequate space. My favorite stateroom thus far. Dining: Excellent service and good to great food in main dining room. Banquet was somewhat hit or miss. Poolside food was a pleasant surprise with Gyros available. Much yummier than just hot dogs! Free ice cream by the scoop, higher quality than soft serve, with toppings available. Sushi in PM was a nice change of pace. My daughter surprisingly loved many of the soups over even her old standby selections. Lobster bisque and the many chilled fruit soups were her favorites. Children's Clubs: Sitting was available for a fee in the kid's club for our daughter and the woman who watched her did an excellent job. I only rated the ship low in the children's program due to lack of facilities for her age group. In this regard RCL's Freedom class blows them away. Sad to watch your toddler tear up after being told that not only can she not play in the water, but she can't sit in the chairs either due to all the saving. A nice set of small lounge chairs for her size would have been great... at least those might have been available. For a 5 plus rating in this regard I would expect a toddler splash zone.
Entertainment: Entertainment ok, but have already seem many of the same exact acts on other ships by same entertainers. My daughter loved the acrobatic dancing and was entranced by the musicals, clapping at the right moments and literally staring happily with her jaw open.
Disembarkation: Well organized and quick once your group was called.