from the moment we embarked on the century and our carryons were whisked away and we were handed a glass of champagne, we knew we were in for something special. we just completed a western caribbean cruise on the century on july 12, and we can't wait to go back. our staterooms, inside doubles, were very roomy. there are 2 closets for hanging and another with shelves and drawers. there are shelves above the built in mini bar and tv area, as well as drawers on the desk/vanity and drawers in the two nightstands. my husband and i had a room where the beds were pushed together with the nightstands on the sides. our kids (2 teens) had their beds separated with the nightstands. behind the mirror of the desk/vanity is a safe and more shelves. our bathroom was very nice with shampoo and cream dispensers, container of cotton balls and q-tips, glasses and a hair dryer. the rooms are spotless as is the bathroom and they are kept that way with towel changes twice a day as well as room cleaning twice day. that is one of my favorites! we also had a water carafe and ice bucket that was constantly filled--another favorite thing! our room attendants, lalaine and her assistant, were so efficient and friendly. they called us by name and always wanted to know where we were headed that day or how our day went. they were exceptional! our beds were turned down each night with a chocolate on our pillows along with the information for the next day. you can really get spoiled on this cruise! there are also robes to use and a complimentary tote bag in each room. the ship itself is beautiful. the pool area has 2 pools, 4 hot tubs and plenty of lounges for everyone. the main dining room, the grand restaurant is gorgeous. it is 2-story with a large staircase in the center and very large windows looking at the ocean. the island cafe that has buffet breakfast and lunch, is also very nice. i loved when we went through the line and there were waiters are the end to carry our trays to the table! everything is served on china with glassware (except at the pool), and silverware. there are no garbage cans anywhere. you leave your mess and someone cleans it up. hard to get used to at first! the pool grills serve burgers and dogs, pizza and pasta on one side, but don't overlook the other side where gourmet sandwiches, soups and made-to-order pasta is available. the mozzarella and tomato sandwiches on foccacia were to die for! there were some windy days where we didn't want to eat pool-side so we took our trays into the island cafe to eat at a table. the food in every restaurant at every meal was exceptional. there is so much to choose from that everyone should be able to find something they like. our waiter, krassimir, and his assistant, glenne, were the best waiters we have ever had, anywhere. the service, the advice, their attentiveness, is hard to describe. we felt like we were the only people in the room. while the dining room is formal, it is not stuffy. we had a great time with the waiters, the bar servers and our wine steward, michael, who was also top-notch. i can't rave about them enough. you can also get room service any time at no charge. the menu is limited but i believe i read somewhere that you can request a regular menu item for room service. we had the late seating because we didn't want to have to return early from excursions or miss out on anything. the only drawback to this is you are never hungry for the buffets at midnight! there is not a buffet every night. there was a fruit and sherbet buffet with chicken and ribs on night and "gourmet bites" served on other nights in the public areas by waiters. the big buffet is on the last formal night and it is something to see. even if you don't want to eat it, you must see it to take pictures. no matter where we were on the ship, if we passed a crew member, we were always greeted with a "good evening" and a smile. i purposely paid attention to this and there was not one time where a crew member did not speak to me or my family. it's a little thing, but it makes a big difference. the production shows were very good as was all the entertainment, at the pool and in the lounges. there is so much to do that you will not ever do it all! our favorite spot was at the pool in the late evening with greg, a singer who performed during happy hour and then again from 9:30 to 11. lots of jimmy buffet and great old songs. he even let some passengers sing and they were terrific. we tried to get there every night, especially since our son is only 16 and you have to be 18 to be in the lounges after 11 pm. the western caribbean itinerary is great. in jamaica we climbed dunns river falls and went to dolphin cove. the falls is great, but a little more difficult than the brochures lead you to believe. you definitely need water shoes (the kind that don't slip off). you can rent them for $5 at the falls or buy them for $15. actually, the $15 is cheaper than the ones sold on the ship. take some cash as the tour guides will ask for a tip if you don't offer one. there are also lockers available for $8 with $3 of it returned to you if you return the key. you cannot leave anything on the bus as it travels back and forth to the dock area. there are also changing rooms and bathrooms available in case you want to bring dry clothes (you will get wet!). we were told to make sure you leave nothing laying around. dolphin cove is a bit of a disappointment. there are 3 options in excursions: dolphin cove, mean that you only watch; dolphin touch means you step onto a boardwalk and the dolphin swims near you and you pet it and watch it do tricks; dolphin swim means you wear life jackets and get in the water, but you mainly stand there and watch the dolphin do tricks in front of you. i found this to be a little like being at sea world, not the least bit natural. i'd save my money and swim with the stingrays in grand cayman--awesome! there is a small beach at dolphin cove with a snack bar. however, very few lounge chairs. there are women braiding hair, also. for $25 plus tip this will do the front of your head. not a bad deal. jamaica is, unfortunately, one of those places were were warned about not venturing out on our own. the area around the port is shaky, at best. we walked to the nearby duty free mall, and enjoyed it there because no one was permitted to solicit us there. the shop people were very friendly and helpful. after the falls, you must walk through a market to get back to your bus and you are physically pulled into their booths. my kids were a little intimidated. after talking with many people after this port, we could not find one who said they would want to return to jamaica. but...grand cayman is another story. it is absolutely beautiful, clean, friendly and safe. we did the stingray city and snorkel tour. we took a boat to a reef and snorkeled for about an hour. it was beautiful! we even saw a shark and some barracudas! we got back on the boat and headed to the stingrays. we got into the water (about waist deep) and the guides showed us how to feed them. no sooner did we get the bucket of food then the large stingrays started coming around us. it is scary at first, but it is magical. they are beautiful and friendly and huge! we spent another hour just feeding and touching them. the guide held them up and we held them and kissed them! this was the most memorable part of the trip. take waterproof cameras! it's a must for all these tours. the shopping in grand cayman is also awesome! some of the most beautiful stores and the town itself is also beautiful. we had to be tendered into port as the ship is too large. upon returning to the dock to get back to the ship, the century staff was waiting at the tender with cold towels and ice water for us! even the disney ship didn't do that! just another example of the level of service. in cozumel, we took a trip to playa del carmen by boat to the the tulum and xel-ha tour. tulum is the mayan ruins located on a cliff overlooking the ocean. our tour guide Phillip, was great. he is of mayan decent and was so proud and excited to share his culture with us. tulum is beautiful and hot. after this, we were give a boxed lunch on the bus along with cold drinks or beer. the lunch consisted of more snacks: muffins, crackers, banana and boxed drink. not alot, but enough to tide us over. xel-ha is a cove and series of caves where you can swim and snorkel. it is very beautiful and relaxing. my only complaint is that there is not enough time to do these tours as one. they really should be separate in order to get the full effect. we were late getting back to the ship, but because we booked through the cruise line, they had to wait for us! we didn't get to see any of cozumel and very little of playa del carmen, but both seemed to be very nice areas with some beautiful hotels. you have 2 "sea" days that are nice to get to know the ship and enjoy everything you can. these are also the "formal" nights for dinner. most men wore dark suits and women wore anything from dressy pantsuits to evening gowns and everything in between. there are informal nights (don't confuse with casual) where men still wear jackets and women dress up, but no one wears tux's or gowns. the casual nights mean no jackets for men, but collared shirts are a must, and dressy pantsuits, skirts or sun dresses for women. we also stopped at key west. this was the day we had to present ourselves in the morning to immigration according to a schedule (the lower the floor, the earlier you have to be there!). because no one can leave the ship until everyone goes through immigration, we had to wait for about an hour because an elderly, hard-of-hearing woman decided to go to breakfast first. she could not hear her name being called and had her daughter looking for her all over the ship! pay attention, if you don't show, they start to call you by name over the pa system!
key west is great. we had been there before and did not do an excursion but enjoyed the shops and locals! it's just a fun place. i'd just like to say that this cruise was more than we expected. everything was perfect and the service is something i'm not sure is available anywhere else. make sure you pay attention to the extras: bar tab can add up quickly (the special drinks in the take-home glasses are $7.50 ea. --you can buy a whole set of these glasses (7) for $21 at the bar at the grand staircase and buy the drinks when you want them!). you will also want to tip generously. when you see the level of service, this won't be a question. you should have cash for this as you will receive envelopes on your bed before the last night. also, we spent about $200 per person on excursions. you can spend more or less as we didn't always go with the most expensive. make sure you fill out the questionnaires about the service and if you mention your waiters or other staff by name, they can be rewarded with money/promotions based on that recommendation. i wish i could have written everyone's name on that form! buy your duty free liquor early (you won't be able to take it with you--it will be give to you in your room on the last night). we waited and they ran out of the brands we wanted. the prices are very good (l liter per person without any duty). save your money and cruise celebrity century. you will not regret it!