Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Celebrity
Sailing Date: May 8th, 2004
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
I am so happy that I chose Century for my first cruise experience. I had read many wonderful things about the ship, and it was because of that, that my husband and I chose the Century. Even though I imagined, well, I don't know what I imagined because of it being my first cruise; but believe me I have a great imagination and this ship exceeded even that.
We were ALWAYS greeted by smiling people who couldn't do enough for you. Even the moment we handed the clerk out ship documents to the x-ray person, everyone was warm and friendly and wished us bon voyage. When we walked the "gangplank" to get on board we were greeted by smiling people who took our carry on bags, other people offering us champagne (orange juice for those of us who don't drink) all dressed in starched uniforms with white gloves. And, I would like to add, the champagne and orange juice were served in fluted glasses. We were then ushered to our stateroom by a steward. He set down our carry on luggage, showed us all the gadgets and gizmos that the room had to offer, he said our luggage from the airplane would be deposited in the hall within a couple of hours. He then said, welcome aboard, smiled and departed smartly. Our luggage arrived just like he said it would.
My husband and I went exploring. We had never been on a ship and we wanted to see what cruising was all about. We decided to start at the top deck (the pool). Needless-to-say, it was already in full swing. People were everywhere - in the pool, in the jacuzzies (four of them), there was a full stocked bar and lounge right at the pool. We were hungry and sure enough, there was food. More food than I could imagine (all ethnicities).
During the week, I tried everything!!! This was my first cruise and everything I did was going to be a first and thus I decided all food was a good place to start. Although, I do have to admit, I was very careful about the portions I took as I was told that I would gain weight while on the ship and they were right, I did. But only 8 pounds.
THE FOOD is a category in and of itself. The ship went above and beyond in the presentation of food. I could have actually eaten all day just by rotating from one restaurant to another. It seemed when one restaurant closed to set up for the next meal, there was another restaurant, cafeteria, cafe, bistro, etc. that was open and serving more food of all kinds. The Grand Dining Room was breathtaking. It had a 20 foot wide staircase that entered into the dining room with a beautiful view of the ocean through floor to ceiling windows. Everything was elegant, from the shining brass railings to the place settings on the tables. There were tables of 8, 4, and 2. We chose the table for 8 (per the suggestion of our travel agent). We met wonderful people - Lisa and Mike from Michigan, Myron and Arden who were originally from Long Island, New York but who had retired to Florida, Josh and Murda (sp) from Argentina. They were all lovely. And it was terrific to meet so many nice people. We even became so roudy one night that we thought we might be reprimanded (tee hee - only kidding). It had been a long time since I had sat down to dinner with people who I hadn't known until 3 days before and here we were all laughing out loud. I am talking about real belly-laughing. It was so great. But I digress. The food. Well where do I begin when it came to the Grand Dining Room. The chef was brilliant, the food superb. We had five different choices of entrees every night. No two ever the same; not even from one night to the next. There was literally 35 different choices for the seven days that we were on the cruise. We would start our meal with an appetizer. Move on to the soup, then the salad, the entree, and then dessert. Yes 5 courses everynight. They were small enough portions as to not fill you up; they instead made your mouth water and get ready for the next course's surprise. And I say surprise because it was. When I said 35 different entrees for the week with 5 offerings a night, that was not all.
There were probably 5 different soups, 3 different salads, and 7 different desserts. And they too were different every night. How the kitchen kept up with all the multi combinations and the amounts of each that was served was mind boggling. But they did it. The food itself was out of this world. I tried all kinds of different foods and I have to say, there was not one thing that the chef prepared that was not only tasty but the presentation was outstanding. Everything was served on a plate with a doily then the dish. We had silverware that wouldn't quit. Let's just say I wouldn't want to be the dishwasher doing the silverware. And it was SILVERware. Dinner was so spectaculare everynight that I wouldn't miss that part of the evening for anything else. And eating elsewhere on the ship was something anyone could do 18 hours a day!
The ship itself was immaculate. The mirrors in and around each of 9 elevators that went to 12 floors were constantly being cleaned. If there was someone's finger smudge on the mirror inside one of the elevators going up to another floor, you can bet that smudge would be polished and sparking clean even if you came down the same elevator within 30 minutes. I know because I noticed just that and was very impressed. I even met and spoke to one of three person's whose job it was to clean all the mirrors on all floors for three of the elevators. That was his job, all day, to make sure all mirrors in and on each floor at the elevator entrance were spotless. And even he was smiling and happy to talk and share his day's responsiblilites with me. Amazing. The floors were shining, and the carpets looked like they had been put in last week. Even though the ship was one of the older ships in the Celebrity line, this lady was loved and well taken care of. She sparkled like a diamond and smiled like everyday was sunny. This is one beautiful ship.
The activities were unlimited. There was something for everyone - no matter how old or young. Although, I can say that this ship and it's style wasn't really for children in my opinion. I did see some children (15) amidst 1800 passengers and they did have a special supervised arcade and activities area for the young but it seemed because of the quality and serenity of the ambience of the ship, that it was more geared to 30s and up to 80s. There was a discoteque on the 12th floor but there were only a handful of 20 year olds there. I think other cruises catered to the younger crowd and I was just fine with that. There was however, a couple who brought their baby!!! with them on the cruise. I think the poor little thing might have gotten sea sick. This was not a happy baby. My heart went out to it and also to the parents. They sure seemed to have a tough week. However, I have to add, the staterooms were made in such a way that you did not hear from one stateroom to another. Thus a baby crying up the hall was not heard by us.
Last, but certainly not least, are the people that work on the ship. All were wonderful and very eager to help. But I have to say that a few people really stood out on this cruise. One person was our steward, Julio. He was there to unlock our door when we came down the hall. He was most anxious to help us when my husband noticed a stain on the sleeve of his suit coat. Julio was instrumental in removing it from our stateroom, having it dry cleaned and returning it to our stateroom in 24 hours. The stain was out. You never saw Julio when you were coming down the hallway to the stateroom but somehow he mysteriously appeared and was ready to assist in any was he could. We could talk to Julio in the early a.m., say 7 in the morning. And see him again in the afternoon and again in the late evening. We could hang out our request on the knob of our door, before midnight, for coffee and juice in our stateroom at anytime in the morning up to 10am, and sure enough, Julio had the information sent to the kitchen and our request was delivered on the dot! (When you request room service for 9am. You get it at 9am. Not 9:15 or 9:30.) Another person was the entertainment troupe. These were a collection of 12 young people who did a miraculous job in putting on three broadway-caliber shows during the week of our cruise. There was one fellow in particular who had, on one afternoon, taught a rumba lesson in the Hemisphere lounge. His name was Carlos Santiago. He was kind and helpful and patient and .... Well, when we saw the next show in the theatre, I looked for him. Let me cut to the chase in lieu of sounding corny as I AM a happily married worman. Carlos is an excellent dancer. He is tall and a little more than a twig himself and yet he was able to lift the dancers over his head with, what seemed like, little to no effort on his part. His moves were crisp and concise. He was always in step with the troupe and I had the opportunity to share with him my appreciation for his time and patience during the class of
rumba on the last night of the cruise. The troupe had just finished their third show of the week (and I might add it was their second show of the night), it was 11:30 at night and they were at the exit door of the theatre. It was 11:30 at night, they were soaked in sweat. They must have been tired and yet they still geuinely smiled. I gave Carlos a hug (although he informed me he was soaked), I didn't care. My husband took a picture of Carlos and me and when I thanked him and walked away, I told my husband my arm that I had put behind his back was dripping. We laughed. No regrets, I would have taken that picture again with him. He was so sweet and gorgeous. I secretly wished my daughter had been on the trip, but, alas he was probably spoken for. Tee hee.
And last, but definitely not least, was our waiter, Ines Vasic. She, I can honestly and unanimously say, was the most influential employee whom I would like to add to my small list of friends. She was like family. She was there every evening to listen to our day's events and would intently listen and communicate in return. She was really listening. It wasn't as if this was her job and it was expected. She really cared for people in general and it showed. Her smiling face and sparkling personality was genuine and she would go above and beyond to engage in conversation. And she did this all the while dutifully serving you appetizers, soups, salads, entrees and then the notorious desserts. She was professional, curteous, lovely and articulate. She is a tall, slender, twig of a person and yet I watched her carry the LARGE trays of our food, stacked, sometimes, three plates high with covers on them, with graceful ballet. She served and removed at some times as if she wasnt' even there; she was so smooth and graceful and I marveled at how she balanced it all. AND, I would like to add, she was the ONLY female waiter, which in my opinion made her head and shoulders above the men for her to be able to qualify for her position. She was an absolute pleasure to see every evening and I looked forward to my conversations with her. I missed her the moment I left the ship and every evening when my husband and I sit down to dinner my husband announces, this is no five course dinner (my husband does the cooking) and I add and you are no Ines either. We laugh. I miss her and I wish her the absolute best in her future endeavors.
In conclusion, the Century was and is a beautiful ship and I would sail her again in a heart beat and we might next year as a reunion with our dinner table new friends. We met some wonderful people on this cruise. We had a wonderful experience; one that I will cherish forever as being our first cruise and most memorable experience short of giving birth to our children (who are now in their 20's). The cruise was special, and fabulous, and terrific, and relaxing, and filled with everything one person can imagine that would be on a ship and then add a lot more. Believe me it is there and definitely worth going to see. It is something you won't soon forget nor would you want to. It is not just a vacation; IT IS A MEMORY!
on one little sour note, and I say little (as I put this in all lower case) Celebrity, please do not allow smoking on the ship. As there are many open areas to numerous to mention, I believe smoking could be allowed there and not at the elevators or in segregated areas of the lounges. For those of us who do not smoke, we can smell it and it is offensive. I can not speak for asthma suffers or people with smoke allergies, but if it bothered me, it would surely bother them and I might add, second-hand smoke is just as harmful for your employees who are there everyday. Celebrity, smokers do become accustomed to designated areas and I understand that you want to accomodate and please every passenger, but it is truly offensive to be in the lounge or casino and be sitting down wind of the smoke. Thank you; enough said.
And I would sail Century again and again. Thank you all at Century for making my stay a very pleasurable one.
With fondest wishes to all, Ingrid and David Doyon