by Jonathon Nestor
April 21, 2001
Sateroom 8086 Inside Cabin
My third Celebrity cruise came with an increased sense of excitement as I was sailing Celebrity under her RCI ownership this time. I especially wanted to see if any major changes were evident and if the Royal Caribbean influence had affected the line.
Cabins: Best ever of any mainstream cruise line. Clean, large and perfected. Sony 20" TV's, safe, excessive and bright lighting and more than ample storage space. At 172 Sq. Ft. this basic inside cabin was ultra comfortable.
Embarkation: Less than 5 minutes and we were aboard. Well-staffed ground personnel.
Disembarkation: We 'cleared' the ship by 8:00AM! Most of us were still eating breakfast expecting a longer wait. Fantastic embark/disembark. Greeting: Maids and butlers in full dress upon initial boarding and waiting to escort you to your cabins. A nice Celebrity touch. Afternoon Tea: Another nice Celebrity touch with sandwiches, deserts and of course, various teas.
Food: This stunned me. At or near sub-standard levels. Poorly presented, slow service and routine menus. Minimal effort and on par with Carnival or RCI. What a major surprise and I confess, letdown. Alternative Dining: There is none. Ever. None. The breakfast/lunch venue (Island Cafe) is closed all nights. Pizza (low quality) is served from 5-7PM only and again at midnight. I know of no major mainstream line not offering alternative dinning.
Room Service: I attempted to utilize it in place of alternative dining but our Sony interactive TV (one can order room service off of it) was inoperative during the entire cruise. We phoned it in three of the nights as our 'alternative' dining and delivery took near two hours each of those nights. The same was almost true for morning coffee (in your room). Often sugar or cream was not on the tray after having asked for it. Celebrity was almost angry with you if you tried to utilize room service. Our cabin attendant was not pleased about our orders.... There was two options for room service... One was to order off the dining room menu or to order off the room service menu found in your cabin or on your TV. The room service menu found in your cabin consisted of leftovers from the lunch menu. Salads came with brown lettuce, cold cuts that had dried out and no dressing or utinsils.
Movies: Celebrity Cruises charges $9.00 per movie viewed in your cabin. The only cruise line I am aware of that incorporates this hotel-style charge. Cruises are an attraction in that all basics are INCLUDED. That means movies as well by other cruise line standards. In fairness, Celebrity did offer two FREE movies during the week aboard that were about a year and a half old.
Wines: Expect $8.00 for a glass of basic Edna Valley (California) Chardonay and much much more for other selections. Alcohol/General: Celebrity has a policy of no alcohol is to be brought aboard their ships. This includes bottles in your suitcase as well as liquor purchased at ports. They will sell to you (from one of their gift shops) most major labels but the line 'HOLDS' the liquor until the last day of your cruise. One can be creative though...
Smoking: Cigar and cigarette smoking is permitted everywhere except the showroom/theatre and the dining room. Expect heavy cigar use as Celebrity Cruises offers 'Michael's Club', a venue for the sale of cigars from around the world available for purchase and smoking during the entire cruise.
We found the crew to be very mixed with above-average service and an equal amount of below average service. This was their ship and their vacation and while you were a guest aboard the 'Century', they were not about to make you part of the ship itself.
The ship is beautiful at six (6) years of age. Perfection in appearance and pride. The cabins sparkle and are a very comfortable 'home' for your stay. The line (much to my regret) fails in alternative dining, charging for movies and overall food quality.
We found most passengers to be from the east coast, Canada or Florida.
So many positives still allowed me to accept the ship/line for the evident quality in pride it offered. However, when I'm on vacation and on a cruise, please offer me the wonderful feeling of just being lazy after spending a full day in port and the ability to dine elsewhere or in shorts or watch a movie (or two or three) or to walk to an alternative area where I'm free of cigar smoke while I dine outside.