Itinerary: Genoa Italy, Ville Franche, France - Barcelona, Spain - @sea -
Tangier, Morocco - @sea - Funchal, Madeira - @sea x5 - St. Maarten, @sea x2
- Fort Lauderdale.
This is not a detailed review of the ships facilities as this has been done
many times and the Century is a glorious vessel with comfortable staterooms
and classic and airy public space.
This is our second cruise on Century, first was during the inaugural season
for our 5th anniversary.
We can't imagine how anyone could have a bad time on this trip. All our
arrangements were done independently. We did our own air and pre-cruise
We spent a week in Italy before boarding Century. Flew into Rome, Oct.
16/99 - the scaffolding was mostly removed from the sites after extensive
restoration work throughout the City. The weather was cool & rainy, took
local transit to many of the major sites. Spent 2 nights in Rome before
Took the FS Eurostar Italia train to Naples, transferred to the
Circumvesuviana to Sorrento. Had two nights in Sorrento overlooking the
Mediterranean. Visited Pompeii on our anniversary and enjoyed a picnic of
local cheeses, bread & sausage while perched on rubble in the ruins of an
ancient wineshop. Delightful, sunny & warm day.
Took the Circumvesuviana train from Sorrento to Naples, went to the
National Archaeological Museum and enjoyed a slice of life visiting an
internet cafe and local markets before boarding our overnight train to
Genoa to meet up with Century. We had a comfortable compartment for 2 on
the overnight train, arriving in Genoa at 6:30am. Our hotel graciously
allowed us to check in early in the AM.
In Genoa we stayed at the Bristol Palace for one night. It was a charming
hotel on a trendy strip. The weather was very rainy & cold so we spent the
time preparing for our transatlantic journey instead of seeing the sights
in the area. We found a laundry service near the port so we were able to
board with clean cloths. This is important since Celebrity does not yet
have self-serve laundry on board.
Due to the rainy & stormy weather we had the day prior to departure,
Century was unable to stop at Livorno, the port for Florence on the
previous cruise, so the ship actually arrived in Genoa the night prior to
our departure. Embarkation went very smoothly, arrived at the port not
about noon, and we were on the ship before 1:00pm and were in the first
group "Zero" as we are Captain Club members. We were assigned to cabin
8025, Cat. 5 on Deck 8 Panorama Deck.
The cold & rain cleared away for departure and Opus played up on deck. We
were late departing due to the Air/Sea passengers. All accounts we heard
said that the passengers that used Celebrity's air program into Milan did
not have a smooth transition from flight to ship. Delays, lost luggage,
etc. - Air France apparently lost ALL the lugggage of a group of about 50
people, for instance - eventually delivered later in the cruise.
Fellow Passengers were overwhelmingly Floridians - there must have been a
push in Florida as there were many from the sunshine state on this cruise.
Ages mostly ranged from 50-60ish. Not many really elderly, frail
passengers like you tend to see in Alaska. There were some Europeans.
Most passengers we met had 10+ cruises behind them, many were repeaters
with Celebrity, probably most of the ship were repeaters. Not unusual to
find someone who had done the transatlantic a few times.
PORTS OF CALL
Villefranche, France (for Nice and Monte Carlo)
Due to unsettled weather, the seas at Villefranche were not conducive to
tendering and so after our arrival we departed within a couple of hours to
head to another port so we could enjoy a day off the ship. Passengers with
arranged tours to Monte Carlo were quite upset and disappointed about
missing Monte Carlo and that night the casino on the ship was crammed full
with folks that needed to spend some gambling dollars initially earmarked
for MC no doubt. We left Villefranche and sailed 4 hours down the coast to
Toulon, a quaint French town with a wonderful port. We docked a short walk
from town where there were many shops & cafe's. The day cleared up by the
time we docked and we had a sunny pleasant day in Toulon. Stephen went
into town first and bought me a lovely floral bouquet and a wine cooler as
a vase. (Also, Celebrity now has a florist onboard, never noticed this on
other sailings - used this service to add to my arrangement) I'm sure
Toulon will be a port added to future itineraries, it was delightful.
Century docked a ways from town, but shuttles were provided. Weather was
mixed. Sagrada Famillia was a must, we went there by subway and climbed
the stairs to the top of the spires. Did some shopping along the Las
Ramblas, and met up with the shuttle just before it started to rain.
Barcelona was really beautiful, and by all accounts has great night life,
but we were gone before it began.
Next day was a much needed "day at sea". As we headed west in the
Mediterranean the weather steadily improved, with some fog & rain early in
the day, but mostly good weather during the day. A light jacket or medium
weight sweater were needed in the northern most ports, but t-shirts were
all that were required after Tangier.
Took the first of 2 tours we booked through the ship. We both enjoyed
Tangier tremendously. After our tour, we had a guide take us shopping, I
was insistent I wanted to look for ceramics but we got the "rug show"
anyway. Had mint tea and viewed many lovely carpets. Saw many people
bringing them on the ship - boy can the Moroccans pack rugs compactly! A
9x12 rug becomes a manageable square bundle. I bought some nice pieces of
Fez pottery and later bought a couple of little stone animal figures from
the dockside merchants at the ship. This port was exotic but relatively
safe. Probably best to have a guide for this port stop and to keep alert.
Another day at sea - finally Celebrity has offered some good enrichment
choices - we had a series of lectures from David Aikman, a former Time
Foreign Correspondent who had lectures throughout the cruise on various
recent historical events and figures. It was delightful and I attended
We were greeted with a double rainbow over the island as we gazed at the
scenery from deck 11 - very photogenic moment. We heard it was considered
one of the most beautiful islands in the world. The ship docked near town,
but a shuttle was needed to get from the port area to the centre.
Celebrity provided shuttles for this purpose. We took a local bus #20 up
the hillside to a beautiful viewing point at the village of "Monte". There
was a lovely garden and path, cafe & a couple of little shops. Took some
photos of the ship WAY down below it looked about this big:
<_________x____> from way up there. Lovely shops along the waterfront
which was lined with parks. Bought another floral bouquet of tropical
flowers to bring back to our stateroom and they lasted throughout the
crossing of the Atlantic. Bought a bottle of Madeira wine (15 year old
Malmsey) - at a shop right beside the ship. Those on tours said it was a
beautiful trip and everyone came back looking much cheerier than previous
The Crossing of the Atlantic - 5 days
This was our first time to do it, but those on board who had done it
several times said they had never seen it so calm. It often appeared like
we were on a lake, almost mirror-like in the mornings. I never would have
expected this. Had one dramatic thunderstorm that followed us for several
hours and illuminated all the windows in the dining room at times. Up on
deck that evening we saw a waterspout - a tornado over the sea - it was
Each day at sea was a delight. We got into the illusion that this was
normal life. It was long enough to develop a routine - wake up, roll over
hit the Cabin Service button on the phone, ask for coffee & croissants for
2 and they'd arrive within 5 minutes each morning! Sometimes filled out
the room service card and even hand wrote by the scrambled eggs "with
cheddar if possible" and lo and behold, it arrived as requested. Check the
charts for our location, pick up the daily news at the front desk around
1pm, have a cappuccino at Tastings, go preview the lunch or dinner menus at
the restaurant... eat.. pizza.. read. stroll the deck.listen to Opus.enjoy
the view from Hemespheres.
After leaving Madeira, the weather was mostly tropical, sunny, warm pool
water, Opus played as the sun worshipers lined pool area, ice carving
demonstrations took place, etc.
Hot & Humid - sunny day, took our second of 2 excursions with the ship,
Shipwreck Cove snorkeling - saw some wrecks, fed the fish bread from the
morning buffet, had a delightful time. The water was a bit merky probably
due to settling after the hurricane that affected the area a week prior to
our arrival. Went into town, accessed the Internet at Parcels Plus for $5
for ½ hr. Wrote emails and read up on the news. We lost satellite TV on
the ship so for 5 days at sea we only had a glimpse of the news via the
shipboard newspaper. Bought some souvenirs and tendered back to the ship
for our final port departure.
@ Sea for 2 days
Choppy seas from St. Maarten to Fort Lauderdale, the roughest of the trip
actually. We cruised east of the Turks & Caicos and the Bahamas before
turning west toward Florida. We were bouncing around quite a bit for a
couple of days. Never got bored on the ship, always something to do or
enjoy. Celebrity delivered certificates to our stateroom for each of us
saying that we crossed the Atlantic, with our names printed on them, and
"suitable for framing". Nice touch.
Being a Celebrity cruise food was, of course, one of the highlights. The
cuisine was the best yet, nothing short of fabulous for the duration. The
Grand Restaurant was a splendid setting for some truly spectacular meals.
The alternative dining, situated in the old Sky Bar (deck 12 Aft) was a
pleasant venue for casual dinner from 6:30-8:30 (except formal nights).
The menu is always the same - fruit cocktail appetizer, soup of the day,
tossed or caesar salad, entree choices of Salmon, Chicken, Steak, Lasagna
or pizza and Black Forest Cake or Key Lime pie for desert. Alternative
dining is also not run on seatings so you may reserve your desired time
within the 6:30-8:30 time frame. It was never crowded, and service was
very efficient. Now in all cabin categories dining room meals can be
served to your cabin in entirety during restaurant hours. The only
difference is that everything arrives at once from appetizer to dessert.
It is wheeled into your cabin on a drop leaf table. We did this on the 2nd
of 3 formal nights of this cruise. Had prime rib & lobster and all.. Room
service breakfast has been expanded to include eggs, bacon, etc. and I
really think you could effectively order from the entire breakfast menu by
writing in requests. Room service was generally blazingly fast, and the 24
hour menu has been expanded a bit to include Chili and Soup of the Day.
Soup of the Day even came with Bread Sticks!!
Fort Lauderdale - disembarkation
We arrived on time, but were delayed in disembarkation. It was suggested
that inspectors from various agencies were on board because the ship was
returning from Europe after a 6 months or so absence. Health inspectors
were also supposedly on board - this may account for the delay of dining
room breakfast service as there was some kind of holdup in the galley. We
saw some Holland America ships in port - including the Volendam which I was
surprised to read when I returned was supposed to be leaving on its maiden
voyage that day, but delayed a week. Sea Princess was there also. When
they finally started letting people off it was after 9:30 and we were in
the first group being Captains Club. Got off the ship, took a cab to the
airport and went home.
The dining room staff were excellent, so were room attendants and front
desk staff. Cruise Director Allan King was a joy, this was our second time
with him as he was on the Mercury's Inaugural with us. Loved the "White
Elephant Sale" an auction of unwanted items travelers did not want to have
to pack (books, umbrellas, jackets, souvenirs) it was extremely well
attended and Allan made it a hoot - enjoyed the Lectures by David Aikman,
there was a full schedule days at sea, they were well programmed.
Entertainment was very good, much better than Celebrity's past reputation.
Movies are now shown in both the conference room and Celebrity Theater
(some projection problems in the Celebrity Theatre) enjoyed Jokers Wild -
an open mic joke session for passengers, got quite raunchy at times & Allan
had to step in to tone it down.
Celebrity far exceeded our expectations on this one - Bravo!
Bring some foreign currency, learn their denominations and have a general
ideal of the exchange rates. Take time to learn at least some basic
phrases, such as "please, thank you, excuse me, how much is this, etc." in
the languages of the ports you plan to visit.