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Jeff Hobbs

Age: 41 to 50

Occupation:Sales Manager

Number of Cruises: 6 t

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Century

Sailing Date: October 31, 1998

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

Celebrity Century

Oct. 31, 1998

This was our honeymoon and I obsessed over this trip for 9 months.  I wanted to pick the perfect ship and the perfect itinerary and have the best vacation of a lifetime.  I don't think I could have done much better.

We arrived a day early and stayed in a pre-night hotel of Celebrity’s choosing.  It wasn't great but it wasn't bad.  We stayed in the Airport Sheraton which is very convenient to both the airport and to Port Everglades.  The room was smallish and the air conditioning wasn't working very well.  But the bell service and breakfast were very good. Thank goodness that when we looked out the window at the airport and watched the planes landing we couldn't hear a thing.  And better yet, when we looked out the next morning, off in the distance, we could see "our" ship waiting for us.

With the Pre-night packages come transfers to the pier.  Check out time was noon, no exceptions, but Celebrity wasn't planning to pick us up until 1:30.  Luckily my father lives near by and had offered to drive us to the ship.  So we notified the cruise line that we would not wait for them and arrived at the embarkation lounge at 12:15.

Since we were in a suite we had priority embarkation, and in fact we were the first to be checked in.  We went up to the final waiting area and sat for about 30 min.  With the ship right next to us through the glass the wait seemed much longer. 

Soon we were aboard and delighted with what we saw. The Century is elegant and subdued; very classy.   A Steward grabbed our bags and led us to our Sky Suite, number 1207.  We had booked a Cat. 2 on a guarantee but got this marvelous upgrade!!  The cabin was spacious, by shipboard standards, the bathroom and storage areas nicely designed, and the veranda was huge.  At nearly 150 sq. ft. it is as large as some ship's cabins.  It had two lounges, two chairs and a nice size table.

Even if the other aspects of the ship had been substandard (and they weren't) this cabin and the great butler and stewardess assigned to us made this trip truly special.  Every morning we ate breakfast “al fresco” with the ocean or another Caribbean paradise just over the railing.

Other reviewers have gone into great detail regarding the splendor of the Century so I won't carry on too far.  She is kept in immaculate shape.  Constantly, all day and into the evening, there is cleaning and polishing and scrubbing and vacuuming and painting going on.  I never noticed a dirty window all week long.  The public rooms are large and warm and comfortable.  The theater is spectacular.  The musicians, singers, dancers and comedians much better than average.

The dinning room is very beautiful and not as noisy as you might expect, although it seemed to be noisier upstairs than down.  The food was, for the most part, very tasty and well presented.  I did have some over cooked and tasteless fish one night.  The Duck L'Orange was great!!  The desserts were sinful.  The famous dinning room vibration was present from time to time but not really very noticeable.

The  Islands buffet area is very roomy and with four separate serving stations there are very few lines.  The grill area was never crowded except at pizza time and the fresh pasta made here at lunch was tops.  Please note however, that there are no free soft drinks after 2 p.m.  Bring along a "keep cold cup" and fill it for later.

Our favorite watering hole before dinner was Michael’s Club.  The quiet ambiance here encouraged relaxation and conversation.  The warm and clubby atmosphere was perfect for me and for my wife too.

The other "favorite" spot for us was the Aqua Spa; what a wonderful place.  We did a Rasul together; a couples mud and steam bath treatment that is very enjoyable when shared with the one you love.  Later in the week I got the best massage of my life and my wife (I love calling her that!!) got a French Spa hand treatment and manicure.  Almost daily we spent some time in the Thallasotherepy pool.  That, combined with a steam and/or sauna, was just the ticket to relax aching legs and feet after a day in port.  Not once did we encounter the reported pushy salesmanship of the spa personnel, and believe me there were plenty of chances for them to try it out on us.

Other activities we enjoyed were the daily trivia contests (we came in second once and got some Celebrity fanny packs) and pool volleyball against the crew.  The crew team has never been beaten but we came close, losing by just one point. 

And speaking of the crew.  The new entertainment staff on the ship is great.  The cruise director, Simon Weir, just came over from the Horizon.  He is very energetic and interested in getting people involved.  But fear not, there were never any annoying shipboard announcements that were not absolutely necessary.  If you want to be involved with activities then you must read your daily schedule.  All the other staff and crew were very polite and enjoyable to be around.   I found the customer relation’s desk to be open and helpful, unlike my experience earlier this year on the Seabreeze.

We made some good shipboard friendships and found it fun to do port time with these great folks.   We shopped, climbed the falls, shopped, snorkeled, shopped and snorkeled again and, finally, shopped one more time.  We also hosted a party on our veranda one evening before dinner.  Even with Mitch (the hurricane) jumping back into the sea north of us we had great weather and made every port.  My vote for the place I most want to revisit goes to Cozumel.

If I had any disappointments at all they would be; the golf simulator was down for the week, the waterfall is not working in the lobby and there was no master cigar roller in Michael's.  Also, we couldn't find a single portrait that we really liked of ourselves, so we bought none.

Disembarkation was very easy.  One of the benefits of having late seating is that you don't have to go to breakfast as early the last morning.  Islands only serves a continental breakfast so the dinning room is the place to eat that last meal.  Celebrity allows you to roam the ship before disembarking now, so there was no endless waiting in an over crowded lounge. 

So, off the ship, past customs, find the bags and back to reality; just that quick.  We watched the Century recede in the rearview mirror by 9:30 am.

There are so many ships and I have so few funds, but would I sail the Century again?  You bet.    If you have questions feel free to contact me at hobbsey@aol.com

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