We could not have been more pleased with our Mediterranean cruise on the Celebrity Century. They have a couple of different itineraries for this ship in the Med; we were on the one that has ports near Nice, Florence, Rome, Dubrovnik, Venice, Split and Naples.
My husband and I were traveling with our two teenagers (19 and 17) and with my mother-in-law, who is in her 80s but is more fit than many 50 year olds. We had two Sky Suites on the 12th deck (Sports Deck 1218 and 1220). We chose that deck because we wanted the two rooms to be adjacent and this was the only area with suites that still had adjacent rooms when we booked, but we liked the location. The Sky Suite rooms are very nice, quite large and have wonderful verandas. Both rooms were in good repair and were very clean. The only we issues we had were fairly minor: the safe did not work in one cabin and there were a few times when the hot water wasn’t as hot as desirable. The Sky Suites are generously sized for a couple and adequate for three people. In the suites, we had both a cabin attendant and a butler, so the service was excellent. The butler brings tea each afternoon and then comes again with canapés before dinner. He will also serve meals in your room (including the entire dinner menu in courses if you choose to have dinner on your veranda).
Because several of us had not visited any of the ports, we chose to do shore excursions through the cruise line in the hope that we would get good overviews of each city. Although I understand why people would choose to book private tours, we actually had very good experiences with the shore excursions we chose. Celebrity does a very good job of describing the shore excursions on their web site including clear information about how physically demanding each excursion is. We found it a bit strange that on most of the excursions, there were at least a couple of people who had a great deal of difficulty. The information on the shore excursions is accurate: if it says you need to be able to walk 3 miles over uneven and uphill surfaces and climb 200+ steps, that is what you need to be able to do.
We thought that the food and service on the Century were excellent. We had breakfast most mornings in the casual restaurant called Islands, which has four large buffet lines. We tend toward light meals in the a.m., so our group ate fruit, cereals, breads, sweet rolls, etc., all of which were good. They also had many hot options including several kinds of eggs and breakfast meats. We had lunch in Islands many times as well and thought that the array of options was excellent, especially since we have two vegetarians in our family. In addition to one or two selections of curries and several other hot dishes each day, they also always had a pizza kitchen with four or five choices plus two or three other options like calzone, a pasta line (a variety of pasta choices and sauces) and an Asian area that included a number of hot entrée choices and also had a stir fry chef so you could pick your own ingredients and sauces and have it prepared to order. They also had a special sandwich each day, a couple of soups, desserts, cheeses and probably a lot of things that I have forgotten. We ate most of our evening meals in the formal dining room and had good food and service every night. We thought that the choices were very good with fish or seafood, a vegetarian option, one or two beef, lamb or pork options plus poultry each night. Only one of our group ate at the pool grill, which he deemed “fine” but not exceptional. We had tea in our room most days with nice little sandwiches and cookies, but tea is also offered in Islands where they had a good assortment of tea cakes and sandwiches, plus scones and mini croissants. We had sushi with our dinner one night and although we aren’t experts, it certainly seemed to be very fresh and well prepared.
The information that we received about the cruise in advance indicated that there would be three formal nights, but there were actually only two, which was good because the third formal night would have been the last night on the ship and it wouldn’t have been as easy to deal with formal clothing that night. We aren’t really in to the formal thing, but we decided to do it and actually enjoyed being dressed up and seeing everyone else in their finery (and yes, virtually everyone was dressed well with most of the men in dark suits and most of the women in cocktail or long dresses). It is worth noting that if you didn’t want to do the formal nights, you could easily have dinner those nights in Islands, which doesn’t require formal attire. You are asked to wear “smart casual” attire every evening (everywhere on the ship except poolside) – long pants and knit shirts for men, pants, skirts or dresses for ladies – and it seemed that most people abided by this request.
With all these clothing requirements, we definitely found it necessary to send some of our things to be laundered during the trip. It was hot enough during our August cruise that clothes that had been worn on shore excursions couldn’t be worn again without laundering. We washed undergarments in our room with Woolite that we brought with us (hanging line was available over the bathtub in our suites but I don’t know about other cabins) and we sent other things to the laundry. We spent about $125 for five people.
Other than shore excursions in every port, we did not participate in a lot of the other shipboard activities. We did visit the fitness center a number of times – a nice location at the front of the ship with great views. My daughter and I were there as we came into Venice and that was a particularly nice time to have the gorgeous views while exercising. We went to a couple of the evening shows with the ship’s musical theater troupe and enjoyed them – talented young performers.
We booked our own flights and hotel in Barcelona. I didn’t want to take a chance on missing the ship due to travel delays and we wanted to have time to tour Barcelona, so we arrived on Saturday morning (Friday departure) for our Monday sailing. We walked around Barcelona Saturday afternoon and evening and took a “hop-on, hop-off” bus tour on Sunday. We particularly enjoyed La Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. On our return at the end of the cruise, we booked airport transfers through Celebrity because we had a relatively early flight. We were flying Delta and it was particularly nice that we could actually check our luggage with Delta agents at the cruise terminal – Delta then transferred our checked bags directly to our flight. We kept our carry-on bags with us. The only bad thing that happened is that it was raining when we arrived in Barcelona (the only rain during the entire trip). We were under cover from the ship and into the cruise terminal but the buses are not in a covered area. So we hauled our carry-on luggage out to the bus in the rain, loaded it under the bus ourselves … and then stood in the rain because the person coordinating the transfer (employed by a shore excursion company – not Celebrity directly) was standing inside the doorway of the bus, not letting anyone get on until she had very slowly looked up their names on checked them off her list. That was pretty unpleasant and it was really the only thing that went wrong during our trip.
I’ve read some reviews from people who had problems with squeaking noises in their rooms or bad odors or vibrations. We were on the 12th deck, so that may have affected our experience, but we did not have any noise issues. I did notice vibrations a couple of times when we were coming in to port early in the morning, but it wasn’t enough to wake us. Leaving one port (I think it was Naples), the vibrations were really quite bad while we were having dinner, although nothing fell off the table. I think that the vibrations happen when the ship is trying to get into or out of a tight spot. It was never bad enough to affect our trip. I am very sensitive to smells and I did notice a bad odor (probably from the ship’s fuel) on the day we boarding and very briefly a few times after that, but it dispersed quickly and did not cause me any discomfort. Truly, we had no complaints about our trip. Everything was what you would expect from a high quality cruise line like Celebrity: good food, good service, good activities, and an excellent staff that is friendly and eager to assist in any way. They even met us at the end of every shore excursion with refrigerated wet washcloths, cold water and cold juices. We couldn’t have been happier and would gladly choose Celebrity, the Century and this itinerary again in the future.
There is only room for six port reviews on the Cruise Critic form and we visited six, so this is the review of our last port which was Salerno / Naples in Italy. We did not visit Naples but toured Sorrento and Pompeii instead. This was our last port and we had had very little time for shopping and wandering during our previous shore excursions, so we chose an itinerary that gave us an hour for shopping in Sorrento. We then had a good lunch at a local hotel before driving to Pompeii. Pompeii was one of our favorite stops on the entire cruise. We had a very good, very knowledgeable tour guide and despite the heat, which made the walking tour a bit uncomfortable, we thoroughly enjoyed seeing the sights of Pompeii. It seemed to me that because we had a good guide, we saw much more and understood more of what we saw than we would have if we had toured on our own. Pompeii is much larger and much more complete than we realized. We only spent about 1.5 hours walking in Pompeii, and you could definitely spend far longer if you wanted to see everything. Just outside the entrance, there were shops, a restaurant and snack stands plus gelato vendors. Given the heat, a nice drink and a bit of gelato were very welcome. We'd give the Sorrento/Pompeii itinerary a rating of 5.