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PHILLIP STIRTON

Age: 68

Occupation:retired

Number of Cruises: 17

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Century

Sailing Date: 2012-03-1

Itinerary: SYDNEY TO HONOLULU

This was my second cruise with Celebrity the previous one being on Infinity around South America. In general the ship was in good condition with obvious updating of carpeting etc throughout the ship and it presents a fairly formal decor which is pleasant on the eye being devoid of the more garish finishes on some more modern cruise ships. Service in all parts of the ship was excellent with nothing being too much trouble and any enquiry handled promptly and professionally. Perhaps the itinerary could have included a port between Sydney and Papeete which is a rather long run. Weather unfortunately was rather poor for close on the entire trip and precluded a lot of outdoor activity. Overall experience however was excellent with some minor reservations.

The food was excellent at all venues including the buffet, the main dining room and the speciality restaurant "Murano". Both the buffet and main dining room had a good/wide choice and the service was great. Whilst the ship was fully loaded there never seemed to be any difficulty in finding a table in the buffet area. The Murano Restaurant is an experience not to be missed with impeccable service and brilliant food. The dessert was prepared alongside the table and involved wrapping a scoop of ice cream in a freshly made crepe topped with the most brilliant sauce and strawberries - unbelievably great both from a taste point of view and also watching the preparation. If you do travel on Century do not miss this option.

I occupied Suite 1206 which is about a third bigger than a normal cabin with a very large deck. Furniture on the deck included a table and two chairs and two banana lounges. The room itself was pleasantly outfitted with the exception of the bathroom which did not appear to have featured in the refurbishment in 2009. It was spacious enough but the overall ambience was seriously impacted by the white/black marble tiling which gave it a very old appearance. The beds and pillows were excellent. The shower over the bath would not drain and you were left standing in a pool of water. When reported it was promptly fixed but for a suite I would have thought that sort of thing would have been checked prior to occupancy. Whilst the deck was great in regard to size it was spoilt to some degree by the varnish peeling off the entire length of the balustrade and had not obviously been touched in some time. There was also rust right along the base of the deck edge which detracted from an otherwise great space. In my view it would be better described as a mini-suite given its size. Your choice of fruit was delivered each day and a butler delivered afternoon tea from a trolley loaded with the most delicious fare !! Both the room steward and butler were excellent.

The entertainment staff did a great job of providing a mix of activities for all passenger types. A couple of shows in the main theatre were well presented and included some good singing and dancing. Of particular note were two acrobats who were mind boggling in the moves they undertook. One very special event was the crew show during which three crew members sang a number of songs all of which were so professional. The highlight was a steward from the Dominican Republic who sang the Lord's Prayer interspersed with "I Believe" - it brought the house down !!! It is probably an indication of how highly regarded the staff are that the theatre was standing rooom only and the applause at the end said it all - a memorable moment !!s

I usually organise my own excursions as I have found that the ship's tours are expensive, normally involving travelling with about 50 other people and not having enough time at any particular place. I either book over the internet or arrange a tour with a local provider at the wharf. Inevitably the cost is about half, you normally only have another four or five people and you can stop where you want. The ship's tours are well organized however and for those who do not want to undertake their own bookings it is probably the better way to go even given the cost !!

The cruise called into Papeete, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Lahaina and finally Honolulu. On Bora Bora four of us hired a car and drove around the island with a lunch stop at "Bloody Mary's" - a great experience. On arriving in Honolulu we flew to Kauai for six nights and then back to Waikiki for seven nights and finally back to Brisbane. Whilst I had very few negatives re the cruise I would probably opt to travel on a more recent ship as the Century is starting to show its age somewhat. My view is probably somewhat influenced by having sailed on Infinity which is in another class altogether and also having recently cruised on Diamond Princess. For a first time cruiser I would nevertheless recommend Century.

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