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Sherry

Age: 34

Occupation:Homemaker

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Century

Sailing Date: November 27th, 2004

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

What an incredible week! This is the first time a vacation exceeded my expectations. Our experience was so wonderful we are afraid to sail on another ship.

We used the bus service through the cruise line to get to the port. We live in Southwest Florida so taking the bus was cheaper than driving and paying for parking and much more relaxing. Our driver placed our luggage under the bus and we didn't touch it again until it arrived in our room.

Once we arrived at the port, we made sure our luggage was with the porters, tipped them $1-$2 per bag and headed to the check-in desk. Our passports and tickets were checked. Our credit card was validated for our onboard purchases and we were handed our room key/credit card for our cruise. It took 5 minutes. We then walked onto the ship. They do take a bon voyage photo as you board, so look good! As we boarded our keys were scanned and we were handed a glass of champagne. Passengers shared a toast. Quite nice. When we asked directions to our room, no one spoke understandable English, so we were on our own. Thank goodness I studied the floor plan before we left. We arrived in 5-10 minutes. It was not even 11:30! Our room steward saw us entering our room. He introduced himself, welcomed us and explained that he had a little more to do in our room. It looked great to us and spacious enough. There is a ton of storage space! Our room steward was Fabian and he was fabulous. Our bed was very uncomfortable. When we complained he immediately found a thick mattress pad and remedied the situation. He met me outside my room the next morning to ask if I slept better and if there was anything else he could do. Without exception, every crewmember on the Century made us feel like celebrities. Everyone smiles and everyone aims to meet your needs.

Next we hit the buffet. Awesome! Everything was great... and we tried everything. The desserts were to die for. Here I was so stuffed I was sick and the ship didn't sail for another 4 hours!

Next we toured the Aqua Spa. If you plan on using the facility the tour is worthwhile. Keep in mind that most port days spa therapies are half price. We decided to purchase use of the Thalassotherapy pool for the week, which includes the sauna, steam room, lockers and showers. The pool is like a huge whirlpool with a strong current. It's like getting a massage. Some people mentioned online that it bleached their suits. We saw no problem with this. It was great and never crowded. We would definitely do this again. It was $60.00 per person for unlimited use throughout your cruise. The gym is located next door and has a great view. We never waited for machines or equipment. Aerobic classes were free but there was a $10 fee for yoga etc. They need to drop the fee.

The sail away finally arrived and we met our cruise critic group for drinks at the mast bar. It was such fun. In Ft. Lauderdale, people living in the condos wave and blow air horns. I felt like a kid in a parade!

It was time for dinner and we dressed casually. A simple dress or pants outfit for most women and pants with a collared shirt for most men. I didn't expect much in the way of dining. After all, they are feeding 2000 people! Was I surprised. It was absolutely delicious. It looked fabulous, too! Sometimes we ordered two entrees if we couldn't choose just one. We never substituted for what was on the menu because we always found something we wanted to try. Once again, dessert stole the show. The only complaint in the food dept was that the lobster was a bit tough. Overcooked. Out of 21 meals that's not bad. By the way the cold soups and sherbet were out of this world. Try it!

Informal night was a mix of casual attire mentioned above and suits for men and nice cocktail dresses for women. Formal night dress consisted of informal night attire and a number of tuxes and evening gowns. I was one of the few in an evening gown but we enjoyed being the "best dressed" and didn't feel a bit awkward! No one was out of place. Nearly everyone made an effort to look good each night but it was relaxed enough that you never felt like you dressed "wrong" for the evening. My biggest worry was the dress code. Respect the guidelines but be yourself and you'll feel comfortable.

The dining room consistently had the best quality food for all meals. The food was good everywhere on the ship, but I preferred the service and freshness of the food in the dining room. However, room service early in the morning can't be beat for fresh hot coffee and fresh croissants right out of the oven. That alone was worth the price of the cruise!

We enjoyed the midnight island buffet offered one evening. There were beautiful and whimsical fruit carvings on parade, dancing and fun. The food was very good. The Grand midnight buffet on a different night was a disappointment. All 2000 guests rushed in at the same time to take photos and some even tried to sneak food during the photo session. It was the only night the passengers were obnoxious! We were shocked. These people had been stuffed beyond capacity for 6 days so far and here they were fighting over food. You have to laugh. On behalf of the crew, though, I must say it was quite beautiful. On Disney, they only allow a certain number of people in at a time. Sounds like a great idea. We finally squeezed out and went to the Rendezvous lounge to relax and listen to some great music. When we came back to eat most of the food was gone. That's OK. I was still full from dinner.

One more word about food. Celebrity has Gourmet Bites 5 evenings instead of a buffet. All I can say is "no thank you." They were often cold or lukewarm and nearly impossible to get. My poor husband was begging for them. I'd rather see a buffet each night.

As for the ports of call, we enjoyed all but San Juan. It was so late when we arrived. There's not much to see or do but nightclubs and casinos. We have plenty of those at home. We did hear from friends we met on the ship that the guided walking tour by Debbie was awesome. This is not booked through the cruise line but on your own. I've seen info about her under ports of call on the internet.

In St. Thomas we hailed a cab which is really a jeep with as many people crammed in as possible without someone falling out!) Hold on for your life! These people drive crazy. If you like rollercoaster's, you'll love taxis in St. Thomas! It was worth it when we stepped onto the beach. It is lovely. We enjoyed it so much we spent the day there. We heard the shopping was great.

Next we visited St. Maarten. This is my favorite port. It is amazing. Because there were many ships at port that day we tendered to shore and it was no problem. It took about 10 minutes. There is a beautiful beach right at the pier called Great Bay. If you walk a bit there are plenty of quiet spots. We did do some shopping here. We loved the Guava Emporium. They had frozen drinks made with guava berry liquor that were wonderful. It's just a lovely island with warm people and incredible beaches.

Our last port was Nassau. We took our only ship excursion here. It was the Rainbow Reef snorkel. There was quite a long walk to get to the boat for the trip. They really should have transportation. There were 50-60 passengers and 3 crew members. That's not a good ratio for a beginner. We received virtually no assistance. My husband nearly drowned. Rainbow reef is dead from a rise in water temperature so everything was gray and we only saw three or four varieties of fish. Having said that, it only cost $22.00. We enjoyed the narrated tour of the waterway and enjoyed a spectacular sunset on the trip back to the ship. The tour took all of our time in Nassau. It was only supposed to be 2 1/2 hours. We wished we would have had some time to tour Nassau.

About the ports, Celebrity greets you as you return to the ship from ports o call with an ice cold towel. These are also given out by the pool. What a nice touch.

There was plenty of entertainment and things to do. the shows were ALL top notch. We were pleasantly surprised and very pleased. There were Broadway and Vegas shows, an illusionist, and the comedians were so hilarious that my sides still hurt!

We were on the Newly Wed, Not So Newly Wed Game Show which was great fun. We also enjoyed the karaoke and various musicians on board. We took dance lessons from one of the celebrity dancers, attended great art and wine auctions and saw a good movie in the theatre. There are many new on demand movies available in your room for $10.

If you like a Martini you must visit Eva in the Martini Bar. We enjoyed the martini tasting which is 5 small martinis of various flavors. For only $9 it was a great introduction!

Disembarking was a breeze. We were called by groups and stepped off the ship and into the immigration line. Brace yourselves-these people are nothing like the warm, friendly, accommodating crewmembers onboard! Nonetheless, it was a very efficient process. In 10 minutes we cleared immigration, found our luggage and a porter, cleared customs and arrived in the waiting area for our bus. Perfect from start to finish!

There is so much to tell, I could go on. The food , service and entertainment are first class. We are just so pleased we chose Celebrity Century for our vacation. It was the best week of our lives.

PS Ladies, bring your own hair dryer. The one in the room is like a whistle!

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