After several cruises with Carnival and Royal Caribbean, my wife and I decided to give Celebrity a try. We found a little 2 night trip on the Century out of Miami would serve that function and also not require us to take any time off of work. We were accompanied by my wife's parents, and it was her father's first cruise.
We live in Central Florida so we drove down the morning of the cruise. After getting parked we began the embarkation process. It went smoothly up until the check in desk. Our attendant's computer crashed, so we had to wait a while as she rebooted it. She had to swipe our card several times, and didn't seem at all confident that it had worked when we left. As it turns out it didn't work, we would have to go do the guest relations desk the next day to fix it. That was the only hitch, and we were on the ship in less than 45 minutes after parking.
The Century is now more than fifteen years out of the shipyard, but you would never know it while walking around her. Her interior areas are spotlessly maintained and modern. I was impressed with the variety of bars and lounges she has. The Hemisphere Lounge at the front of the ship was a great place for sail away. We also spent some time in Michaels Club. The piano player was very good, but it was mostly smooth jazz which is too slow for my taste. We had some drinks at the Martini Ice Bar. The drinks seemed better quality than those I have had elsewhere, and they were cheaper to boot.
I went up to the Hemisphere Lounge each night, but both times it was almost empty. The Rendezvous Lounge seemed to be the hot area each night. They had live music playing and it was the only area where I saw folks dancing. I've never been much of a gambler, so my time in the casino was brief.
We did not attend any of the shows. The main theater was nicely decorated and I liked the box seats setup above the main floor. The Crystal Room cabaret lounge was also very nice.
The ships spa was one of the nicest I've seen. They had a small cafe in there serving healthy alternative to the buffet. There was a large thermal suite, and beauty salon and a barber shop. The gym about average size compared to other ships I have seen in Century's size range.
The lido area on Century is very nicely done. There are two large pools, one deeper than the other. The four hot tubs are also located there. I really like that you are not required to check out pool towels on Celebrity, an annoying practice that Carnival and Royal Caribbean have gotten into.
We initially booked into an interior guarantee cabin, but got upgraded to a balcony room after a price drop. We got more good news when we found out that they had given us a Concierge Class room on Vista Deck, #9043.
The cabin was nicely decorated and had a large balcony accessible via a sliding glass door. The balcony had a table and two chairs on it. The bathroom was good sized, with a shower that was actually large enough to shower in! Not that we needed storage space, but it was plentiful. The room had a flat screen TV, a small sofa, and a desk. The bed was comfortable as well. The Concierge perks that come with the cabin are a plus. You get a bottle of champagne in your room for sail away, a tote bag, fruit and capers daily, use of binoculars and an umbrella, and services from the ship's Concierge.
I was highly impressed with the quality of food served in the ship's buffet. The sandwiches from their deli station were delicious. I also really enjoyed the pasta bar and the pizzeria. The outside patio section of the buffet was a great place to eat, offering great views.
Our wait staff in the dining room was attentive and friendly. The food was good, and comparable to the other cruise lines I have been on. The dining room itself was beautiful. The entire aft wall is windows which offer some impressive views. Unfortunately our table wasn't near them, but the dining experience was no less enjoyable. The variety of the menu was impressive, with a standard favorites menu and features that changed nightly.
We were able to order a full breakfast from room service since we were in a Concierge room. Our morning in Nassau was spent on our balcony enjoying it. That was a very nice experience that we had never tried before.
I have no reason to ever go back into Nassau. I like to appreciate Nassau from the Lido deck. That is exactly how I enjoyed this visit. The hot tubs were empty and the weather was very nice. I did get off the ship to snap some pictures of our little ship nestled between the huge Carnival Dream and the unbelievably gigantic Oasis of the Seas. It seems strange to refer to a 70,000 gross ton ship little, but in comparison it certainly seemed so.
Our second and last morning went very smoothly. We had a nice breakfast in the main dining room. The Eggs Benedict was delicious. We walked right off the ship with no hassles. Customs was a different story. There were only two officers for 1800 guests, so it went very slowly. The queue area was also poorly managed, with staff not seeming to know where to send people. They need to add more officers and better organize the process. The constant shuffling of people from one line to another caused nothing but frustration for others in line.
I enjoyed Celebrity for reasons that I had not even counted on. I really liked the lower key atmosphere and older clientele. The mood was quieter, less pushing and shoving and less noise. The service from the crew was a little more attentive. I thought the stand they set up outside the gangway with water, juice and cold towels was a nice touch. They also send a reservation card to your cabin with your dinner arrangements on it, as opposed to having it printed on the Sea Pass card. The reciprocal Captains Club benefits equal to your Crown and Anchor level was nice. Its too bad Carnival doesn't do this with their sister brands. If they did, I would be more tempted to try Princess or Holland America.
My first cruise with Celebrity was entirely enjoyable, albeit brief. I foresee us cruising with them many more times. My wife's parents also enjoyed it very much. I hope to try one of the Millennium or Solstice class ships next. I like the cozy feel of the small ships, but I also enjoy seeing the biggest and newest as well.
My pictorial review thread can be seen at this link: