Occupation:Tax Fraud Investigator
Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Celebrity
Sailing Date: December 4th, 2004
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
This was our second cruise (both being with Celebrity) We chose this one as 8 of our friends were going on it as well. It was a 7 night Western Caribbean Cruise calling at Ochos Rios, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Key West.
We opted for a Sky Suite (1202) which was on the starboard side - on this particular itenerary it was definately the best side to be on for views and sun! the suite came with a Butler which was nice but given the option of paying less for the same suite but no Butler we would have gone for this. The suite itself was fairly spacious,great whirlpool bath but of course what made it special was the huge veranda it had. We had a table and chairs plus 2 sunlougers on it with space to spare. In fact one night we help a pre-dinner drinks party and had 16 guests! We asked our Butler to prepare snacks/canapes and cheese and it went well - pretentious or what!
The Century is almost 10 years old but I have to say that it doesn't show it. Everything was working, nothing looked shabby and as was our previous experience service was usually impeccable. Century has recently been voted by Conde Nast as having the best food on cruises and I would not disagree with this. Having a suite meant we could have full breakfast delivered to our cabin and eat on our veranda - we did this the 2 days we were at sea. If you wish you can also have lunch and dinner in your room as well but unless you are ill why bother? We personally didn't like having a "formal" lunch in the restaurant, the menu is restricted and it's just too fussy so if we were eating at lunch time we always went to the buffet.
On a 7 night cruise there are 2 formal nights, 2 informal and 3 casual - just about the right balance. I hire my Tux so it's waiting for me in my cabin, another thing less to pack!
In my opinion there is no good or bad sitting time they both have advantages and disadvantages. Early sitting (6.30) means you are not going to bed on a full stomach and you may even try the midnight buffet, the downside being that if you have been on a trip it's a real rush to get ready. late sitting (8.30) alleviates this problem but you are only just finishing eating at 10.30/10.45 so you can't win. We opted for the late sitting on both cruises and just had to put up with the indegestion!
The ports of call were on the whole good, we had only been to Key West before so we were keen to see the others.
In Ochos Rios some of our party went to Dunns River Falls and others hired a mini-bus for a short tour. We would have loved to have looked around the local craft market but you get really hassled by the stall holders and after a while in the heat you get really fed up.
At Grand Cayman we all took a "Snorkel and Stingray City" trip - it really is a must. TIP: We booked an early trip as the boat leaves at 3pm so by 11 after we had done our trip we still had time for a leisurely lunch and some shopping.
In Cozumel we had pre-booked a "Royal Dolphin Swim" for two of our ladies so after a look around the town we took a taxi to the park where the Dolphins were. This was a superb experience and I wished i had booked a place. There are many options but only the Royal Swim lets you swim and play with the Dolphins, as such this gets booked up really quickly and spaces are very limited - I booked over 6 months ago and there were only 3 places left then!
Key West we had been to before but I thoroughly recommend a Conch train trip, it really shows you Key West and it's good fun.
All our trips we booked independantly you can save yourself shedloads of money rather than pay Celebrity.
All in all I would certainly recommend Celebrity and our next cruise will probably be with them although I have to say Cruising is not top of my holiday list as it's a little too regimented for my liking.
Before I finish there a couple of moans that if Celebrity chiefs are reading this they may wish to take "onboard" (sorry dreadful pun)
1. Both my wife and I used the onboard Spa and we had massages, these are not cheap anyway but when you come to sign the bill another 10% is added! Nowhere could I see this explained and I consider it a bit of a con. My masseuse even made a space for a gratuity below the 10% line!
2. Our first cruise was on the Constellation and the entertainment was absolutely superb. I felt Century's efforts were poor and let the Cruise Line down
3. Timings - The Grand Buffet 00.15 is held on the Thursday night, Friday morning you have to be up at 6.30 for US immigration that come onboard, surely the Grand Buffet night could be changed?
4. Trying to get room service/customer relations on the phone could be very frustrating sometimes, they really could improve this. having the phone answered and then being put on hold for maybe 5 minutes or more just isn't what you expect!
Thats the gripes, the plus points?
JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING ELSE!