August 14, 2004
We just returned from a cruise on Celebrity's Century (Western Caribbean) and fell in love with cruising!
We had an outside cabin on the Panorama Deck (8th floor). Unfortunately, our luggage was too deep to fit under the bed, so the size of the room was truly compromised. We had to climb onto the bed from various angles to get around our suitcases. Make sure your suitcase will fit underneath your bed or you'll be doing similar gymnastics. Our stateroom attendant was wonderful. Every day, when we returned to our cabin after dinner, to grab cash for the casino and often change our clothes, we found our bed turned down and a chocolate on each pillow. A card with the following day's weather prediction was placed on the bed, though it was NEVER accurate. Thunderstorms were predicted for each day and we never had rain. Water pressure was good; however, there was no way to actually get cold water and we found ourselves brushing our teeth with lukewarm water.
The food was quite good. We're from New York City and don't impress easily, but we enjoyed the fare in the dining room each evening. The Islands Cafe was fine for breakfast and lunch. When we didn't like what was offered in the Islands Cafe, we went out to the grill. Unfortunately, we found the burgers quite overcooked and often cold from sitting out. The pizza was always good and kept us appeased until dinner. There was a wonderful variety in the main dining room and I never tasted anything that was less than enjoyable. Some selections were better than others, but that will be found anywhere. Gourmet bites were passed in the public rooms around midnight, but we were always too full from our late seating dinner to try anything.
We really were disappointed. The Celebrity Singers & Dancers put on a show akin to something you'd see at your local high school. There was never much going on after 10 or 11 p.m., so night-owls were often left with few choices. We went to the three karaoke nights and found Robert (the host) incredibly entertaining, with great energy and amazing wit. During some of the truly terrible performances, we found ourselves awaiting what we knew would be an amusing comment from Robert. The music in Hemispheres (Century's nightclub) was poor. The DJ moved from one decade to another, playing the BeeGees one minute and J-Lo the next. The club never got crowded and after a couple of tries, we gave up on Hemispheres. The entertainment at the pool kept us from becoming bored. Overall, we were unhappy with the entertainment, except for karaoke and Louis Johnson (the comedian).
The casino is small -- one table each of craps, roulette, let it ride, three-card poker, and Caribbean stud. There were two or three blackjack tables and an abundance of slot machines. We found most of the dealers and pit bosses to be very friendly. If you're cruising on the Century anytime soon, be sure to seek out Cheryl, a dealer who is talkative, friendly, witty, and helpful. We don't enjoy playing at tables with dealers who lack in the personality department and found ourselves almost following Cheryl to the table she was working.
We climbed Dunn's River Falls and found Jamaica to be nothing like it was described on many of the message boards. When you are leaving the falls, just say "No thank you" and the many vendors will leave you alone. Don't tell them your name or where you're from, because they'll engrave your name on something quicker than you can blink, and you're now forced to buy it. Don't shake hands with the vendors. We saw several people do so as we walked by, and they quickly found that the vendors would not let go. Walk, say no thanks, and you'll feel perfectly safe. We spent some time at Margaritaville and loved the drinks. The short walk from the ship to Margaritaville was fine and we never felt unsafe.
We went to Stingray City in Grand Cayman. Unfortunately, Cayman was expecting a storm the following day and the waters were very rough. It's supposed to be calm, waist-deep water, but most of the people on our excursion found themselves being pulled under. Nonetheless, swimming with the rays was fantastic! Cayman is beautiful and we'd love to go back.
At Cozumel, we went to the Dolphin Encounter and this was my favorite excursion. Cozumel was beautiful and offered some nice shopping. Whatever you do, don't think that the silver and tanzanite jewelry is real tanzanite. The tanzanite in the stores (set in silver) is lab-created, basically akin to cubic zirconium. I looked at a ring and when I asked the price, I was told $238. I immediately said, "No thanks." The salesman asked what I wanted to spend and I said $40. Within a second the $238 ring was mine for $40; I probably could've gotten it for $15 if I'd haggled a bit more. Back onboard, I found a woman who'd bought the same ring for $250 because she thought it was real tanzanite. A word to the wise: Most stores will not leave real tanzanite out in the open (They'll lock it in a showcase), nor will they drop the price by $200 in less than five seconds. My silver and purple glass ring is quite pretty.
I was able to get a Movado (can't remember which port) for $250 ($500 in the U.S.) at one of the ship's recommended jewelry stores.
Though Key West is beautiful, we found little to do other than shopping or visiting historical places. We walked around and found that you can get the same great prices in Key West as in the Caribbean. I saw my Movado for the same price I paid in the Caribbean. It's still duty-free as long as you ship your purchase rather than take possession in Florida. We went over to the original Margaritaville and enjoyed the first good burger we'd had in a week. We found a Coach factory store and I bought a couple of items at great prices.
We were invited to dine at the captain's table for the first formal night. It was a wonderful experience, particularly since this was our first cruise. The Master of the Century was witty and very intelligent. He was a fascinating man to dine with, and we'll cherish the memory.
The ship's social hostess, Amanda Grant, was very sweet. Not only did she select us to dine with the captain, but she made it a point to chat with us daily. We never saw her without a smile on her face. She's an asset to Celebrity.
Dining: Thumbs up in the Grand Restaurant. Sideways thumb for the Islands Cafe and Grills.
Entertainment: Thumbs down, with the exception of Robert's entertaining ways during karaoke.
Service: Thumbs up everywhere.
Ports: Thumbs up.
Casino: Typical casino.
I hope the review is helpful to anyone considering this ship & itinerary.