Stayed at the Hilton in Auckland, so getting to embarkation was easy. Walked out the front door of the hotel. Made a left and walked about 50 yards to the Celebrity Tents set up for taking luggage.
Embarkation- Smooth...with exception. You could tell the conference center in Auckland that was used for emabarkation was never designed for that purpose, as its quite the maze of customs, ships personnel, and luggage handlers both inside and out. Very grateful though that the process itself was smooth and flowed well. Was impressed though that they had planned for everything with tents set up outside the conference center with shade and free bottle water available should the lines go out the doors.
Ship itself-The Century is the oldest ship in Celebrity's fleet (1995) and was given a 55+ million dollar makeover in 2006. It was money well spent as the ship has the outward appearance of a newer vessel, but with some real beautiful ocean liner amenities' that are forgotten on the newer vessels. You see the details on decking, dining room, and public areas that just wow you with the intricacy of a different era of workmanship.
It's funny, Century was the first ship I sailed on with Celebrity 15 years ago (when Celebrity was still part of the Chandris family holdings), and was so glad to see they held true to its grandeur during the refurbishment with details that could be easily forgotten to cut costs, but they weren't. It was as grand this time as it was 15 years back.
From the information I could gather after returning, Celebrity has the youngest fleet amongst its competitors with an average ship age of 8 years. Its two main competitors Princess has an average age of 10 years, and Holland America 12 years.
Service to me is what puts Celebrity into a class of its own compared to other lines and Century was no exception. By about day three the stateroom attendant, his assistant, and the butler, along with our waiter and assistant waiter knew me (as well as the rest of my table mates) by name. I always feel pretty honored that they take the time and effort to learn peoples names even though odds are they won't see most again.
One service feature I noticed this cruise that I don't remember from previous voyages was on about day 4 they left "Attention to Detail" cards in our room, a form that was signed by the Hotel Director asking for your inputs on things they could do immediately to make your cruise better, items that could be addressed and corrected on board.
I was very pleasantly surprised by the follow up on these cards. Handed mine into the guest relations desk, and gentleman there asked if he could read it. He did and asked if it would be all right to pass the comments directly on to the appropriate department heads, which he did, as my two items were corrected in less than 24 hours.
The other part of this "attention to Detail" card that I found remarkably effective were the follow up to the positive comments that were made on the card. The next night at dinner the Asst matre d' came over and thanked me for the comments I had made regarding our assistant waiter and the asst matre d' service so far in the cruise.
I think sometimes it's easy to give attention to detail criticism, but equally if not more important to give the praise to people doing an excellent job so to reinforce their actions. It really was interesting discussing with people at our table of 10 to hear what they put on these cards, and hearing the follow up every one received. Of course a few of the comments passengers made on these cards were downright silly in my opinion, but the follow up on every single item was given serious attention to correct the item to the guests satisfaction.
Cabin-Absolutely loved the sky suite. Big balcony with two loungers and a table with a couple of chairs. Plenty of storage throughout room. Bathroom was all white marble with a jetted tub and shower. Fresh fruit and canapes brought by every day,
Ports-All were beautiful but especially enjoyed Akaroa in New Zealand, and Melbourne in Australia
Dining-MDR is my favorite, can't think of any meal I was disapointed with. I could live on just appetizers, soup, and salads for a whole cruise. Do admire the creativity of the dishes. The short ribs were to die for. After being spoiled by the larger buffets on Solstice class, the one on Century was a bit more scaled down.
Excursions-Didn't do many this trip as the ports are smaller and most everything is close to pier side. Did a real nice Celebrity walking tour in both Wellington and Melbourne, that were a great value (~$40) for 4 hours, and found them informative and a good overview.
One thing I loved about Century was the wood. The polished wood decks, the paneling in the main dining room, and just the beautiful details throughout.
Disembarkation was easy, seems everyone just leaves, no matter what time their suggested times are