My husband and I had previously taken a Carnival cruise to the eastern Caribbean. We decided that we wanted to try to step up a bit, and did we ever! Let me start with embarkation. We arrived at the terminal about 11:30 am after arriving in FLL from JFK the evening before. We spent the night at the Comfort Suites and enjoyed it very much. The hotel provides a shuttle to and from the airport (until midnight), and to the pier. Upon arrival at the terminal, we filled out a few papers, and walked on board. It wasn't even 12:00! We left our carry-on bags in the designated area and went to look for our cabin. We found it without any trouble, checked it out, and then went to the foyer to set up our shore excursions (more on this later).
We then proceeded to the Islands Cafe for lunch. It was wonderful. Many choices and oh, those desserts! We went to our cabin, began to unpack as our luggage had already been delivered, and then got ready for the lifeboat drill. That being done, we headed for the pool deck to watch the ship leave port with island music being played and pina colada in hand. What a thrill!
Our cabin was on the Continental deck. We booked a category 8 guarantee and were upgraded to 7. Our cabin was outside and quite convenient. It was compact but with enough space for all the clothes we brought. My husband decided to rent a tux from the cruise line. It fit perfectly-even included 2 shirts. I would suggest that passengers bring a power strip since there is only one outlet. Also, you are told that irons are not allowed. I brought a travel iron and it was fine. Also if you have thick hair bring your own hair dryer, since the one provided is quite weak.
Now to my favorite part. You see I am a "foodie" so the dining experiences are quite important to me. We generally had breakfast in the Islands Cafe. The selections were excellent, even made to order omelets. On 2 occasions we had breakfast in the dining room, I had eggs benedict each time. It was very good, but could have been warmer. That is my only complaint with all the food on board. Lunch was mostly hamburgers or pizza at the pool. Both were delicious. Dinners in the Grand Dining Room were one of the highlights of our trip. I don't know how Celebrity does it, but we were seated with 3 other couples who were almost our exact age. We got along very well and even exchanged email addresses. It was truly a wonderful experience---the company, the food, and the service.
Speaking of service, cabin steward and assistant were excellent. Someone at our table even commented that there must be sensors in the cabin because they knew when we left and straightened everything before you got back. Our waiter was ok. He seemed to be abit annoyed when someone ordered a second entree, though. Our assistant waiter was wonderful.
Now to the shore excursions. I did alot of research before we left. We decided to use the ship's excursions because we had never been to the western caribbean and I was concerned about the local trips. In Jamaica we did Dunn's River Falls on the Sundancer. It was quite enjoyable.(very crowded though because it was a Jamaican national holiday). We had time to return to the ship, shower, change and go shopping at the Soni Center. We found a good price on a gold band and silver necklaces. Don't forget to buy Jablum coffee. It's the best. I did not enjoy the craft market because of the constant pressure to buy so we went back to the ship---just in time for afternoon tea---another favorite part of the trip.
The following day we arrived in Grand Cayman and we went to Sting Ray City. This is not to be missed--even though I did get bit by a sting ray while trying to feed him as we were having our picture taken. On Wed. we arrived in Cozumel! It is absolutely magnificent. Our mistake was taking the excursion to Tulum. The ruins were wonderful, but the trip to get there and back was unbelievable! First there was the ferry from Hell. It was tossing and turning so much that people were actually screaming ! Almost everyone on board was getting sick. I've seen air sickness bags, but these "ferry bags" were lavender (Yuck!) After that ride, you wait in the sun for a walk to a bus. The a/c was minimal at best on the bus. 20 min. later we stopped for a break at a touristy spot where the prices were outrageous, back on the bus for another 30 min. then walk to a small open trolley to finally see the ruins. As I said they are wonderful, and our guide was Mayan so he was very knowledgable. After a very disappointing lunch provided by Celebrity, we arrived at the dreaded ferry. The ride back was a little better as we disembarked at the first stop downtown. I found the patrons of the stores to be just as pushy as those in Jamaica. One of the most wonderful things that happened was in Cozumel. My husband had broken the nose piece on his glasses two days before. We found an optician, and were waiting for him to open when a young man pulled up outside the store. We began talking and ended up exchanging email addresses as he is the same age as our daughter (23). After my husband got his glasses fixed, we left and began walking down the street when we heard someone shouting after us. It was the young man we had met. My husband had left our camera in the optician's office and he ran after us to return it! Thank you, Pedro! Now that is a story to cherish forever!
Our next stop was Key West. It is charming, but I was not too impressed. How much key lime pie can one eat?
The entertainment on board is fine. Michael James "the ladder guy" was excellent. My husband and I attended the swing dance classes which were very well attended, and we got chosen to play the Not So Newly Wed Game. That video will be hidden for many years. Cruise Director Jim Cannon made all the events alot of fun--island night, sock hop, tex-mex night, etc
The last night on board we packed and spent some time in the casino. I had been trying to win at Bingo all week to no avail, but my husband with 3 quarters wins $300.00. Go figure.
Disembarkation was very smooth. We were sad to leave the Century and the new friends we had made, but were anxious to get home and begin planning our next cruise--wtih Celebrity, of course!