As a kid growing up in the 1990's, I heard about the buzz on Celebrity Cruises - especially on the television ads of yore where Tina Turner's "The Best" plays over scenes of various ongoings of their sailings. I fantasized about how delicious and upscale the food was, how exciting the entertainment was, and how numerous the activities were. Let's flash forward to May 10-15, 2010 - the 5-night western Caribbean voyage from Miami (located five hours from the Tampa area) on the Celebrity Century; on the first day I expected things in which the reviews of the ship lauded. However, things were not what they seemed in them – and that’s merely the first cruise with Celebrity Cruises.
When sailing out at sea, the ship rocked, causing my roommate to become seasick (that's when the acupressure bands came in handy) and miss out on the activities, which were rather boring. I don't blame it for being in service since the holiday season of 1995, but as soon as it gets refurbished I hope that they would rectify this problem. Luckily, I managed to enjoy (or rather fake enjoy) the cruise despite the disadvantage.
The cabin was generally comfortable, but the main issue was the toilet paper in the bathroom – it was simply hard to dispense. I had to lift the lid up to roll the desired amount of it, and if one factored in my personal health issue that comes once monthly (which happened aboard), it’s pretty aggravating.
Many reviewers of the ship just lauded the food and service. To me, they were just good, but not as good as my previous three Carnival cruises (the former Tropicale, Fantasy, and Inspiration) and both Disney vessels. On my first night, for example, I had escargot, but I found it less flavorful than that of the Disney Wonder. Some other menu items fall short of advertising standards, such as the lobster(less) bisque, the scanty Gruyere on the French onion soup, and the less creamy strawberry soup with no lemon cream on top. The bright spots in the cuisine were tender steaks, crispy fried items, and most desserts. Other good advantages (to me, who wouldn’t bother to drink too much sugary drinks even on vacation) were the cover charges for soda. The service was also good (there were a lot of good Filipino crew members, who were fitting to me and my roommate’s nationalities), but not as surpassing as the previous liners from different companies.
Aside from paltry activities that interest me (other than just walking around and exercising in the fitness center), the entertainment was just mediocre. Before the cruise, I expected something the level of Carnival – production shows with singers, dancers, and whatever, all accompanied by click-track, some background music, and a seven-to-ten piece orchestra with horn section. However, those with the Celebrity Dancers and Singers and the adage duo (at least the survived the constant rocking of the ship throughout the voyage, especially with the latter performers) lacked glitz and glamor and they are set to simply click-track and background music. The ship harbors an orchestra, but they seemed to be aloof from them. (At least I made some friends with them and they accompanied the only silver lining in the rather tedious entertainment, the British rock double act Kimika.) If you were to go on a ship that has those kind of shows with merely pre-recorded music, I would rather highly recommend the Disney vessels than the Celebrity Century – they have state-of-the-art props and quality elements. The comedian was OK, and I found his satires of “Dancing with the Stars” and “American Idol” pretty funny. Despite Kimika, the entertainment was a bit of a bore.
In contrast to the hike in the second port of call in Cozumel, I found Roatan just wonderful. The island tour in the latter brimmed with vistas, petting zoos (iguanas, to be exact) and a stop at a resort with a beach. The jungle hike in Cozumel, however, was a ripoff – just Mayan wells with complete ruins of ruins and trivial local wildlife.
It was a good cruise, but not as good as the previous five cruises I have sailed in the past in two distinct companies. As experiences go, I expect more stability, edibility and flavor of cuisine, excitement in entertainment, and more activities that suit my interests. If you are sailing on this cruise, you better bring some seasickness aids with you because the ship is unstable. I am looking forward to sail with the ships of the parent company, Royal Caribbean International, which are upbeat but more stable.