July 7, 2001
I was part of a group of 8 family members and friends that were passengers on the Celebrity Century from July 7 to 14, 2001. This was my second Celebrity cruise and overall we agreed that, while not perfect, it was a great vacation that we all enjoyed regardless of age (and we spanned ages from 13 to 81).
As recently noted by many posters to the website, Celebrity now allows embarkation from about 11:00 AM on day of sailing. We arrived at the port in Ft. Lauderdale about 11:40 and were on board by noon. One downside to this policy is that not all rooms are ready, and having a crew member escort you to your cabin seems to be hit or miss. Our cabin (8132) was ready and we had to find it by ourselves, which was not difficult. However, we noticed that the cabin had not been completely cleaned, so we told housekeeping and headed for lunch. The Islands buffet serves lunch for early arriving passengers and it was absolute chaos when we reached it. Apparantly, most of the passengers arrived at the same time and there were lines 30 and 40 people long. It took over 20 minutes to reach the food, which was nicely varied and of very good quality. Happily, this proved to be the only instance of excessive crowding during the week, despite the ship being at full capacity (2200 guests according to a ship's officer).
by the time we finished lunch, our family and friends had been cleared for their rooms and our luggage had arrived, so we decided to unpack. We all had standard outside rooms. Ours had a fold down wall upper berth for our daughter. The rooms are of adequate size, but we preferred the layout in the Galaxy rooms of similar category (#5) which have a sleeper sofa and more effective use of floor space. However, Century has much more closet and drawer space, even for a family of 3. After a perfunctory fire drill (which was ended before we reached our lifeboat) it was departure time. Listening to Caribbean music as we sailed out of Fort Lauderdale into the Atlantic under warm sunny skies was a wonderful start to our cruise.
As it turned out, we were blessed all week with warm sun and smooth, calm seas. Usually, you did not know the ship was moving unless you looked at the water. In this regard, Century seemed to provide a smoother, more stable ride than its sister the Galaxy. Nor was there the excessive engine noise and vibrations that we had noticed at the rear of the Galaxy. Century moved along as smoothly as a high end Mercedes.
Some specific comments on aspects of the cruise:
We ate most of our other meals at the Islands buffet. Breakfasts were plentiful and fresh, and included an omellete station in addition to cafeteria style hot and cold choices. We ate breakfast in the main dining room twice. Oddly, it was vastly inferior to the buffet offerings.
Lunch in Islands is also buffet style. The quality was excellent, but much of the hot choices were too heavy for our tastes because of the heat and humidity. There was a seperate outdoor grill for burgers, hot dogs, pasta and grilled meats, as well as a sushi bar that seemed to be a big secret.
In Grand Cayman, we did the Cockatoo catamaran trip to Stingray City. I've always enjoyed catamaran sailing, and this was a very enjoyable trip. The stingrays did not disappoint, and we actually had about 10 min. where we were the only boat there. This trip was also less congested than the regualar boats which were packed like NY subway cars. The downside to this port is that tender service is used, and Celebrity uses its enclosed lifeboats which are very hot and uncomfortable. There is just too little time in port to see very much of this beautiful island.
In Cozumel, we made the mistake of taking the Tulum excursion. It was a disaster....poorly planned and executed. The trip takes almost 2 and 1/2 hours each way and only leaves about an hour to see the ruins. If Celebrity won't drop people off in Playa del carmen or Calica (closer ports to Tulum) they should cancel this tour. As icing on the cake, you're given a box lunch and cup of soda or beer as you leave Tulum. Lunch consists of a CAN of tuna, a rool, mayo packet, and chips. So, you're expected to hold your drink and use your other hand to open your tuna and assemble your sandwich as your riding on a cramped, bumpy bus. It's so ridiculous that it sounds like a comedy routine.
Key West was the last port of call, and we just walked, toured and shopped, ate some frozen key lime pie on a stick, and agreed there was no need for an excursion. I did note that the Fury catamaran trip offered on board at $59pp could be purchased directly in port for $40pp. We also took the Bone Island Shuttle for $7pp instead of the Conch Train or Trolleywhich were $19 pp.
In closing, I have to say that we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise. If you are booked on a future Century trip, you can look forward to an excellent vacation.