by Warren Fullerton
May 7, 2005
Just completed a transatlantic cruise on the Century from Ft. Lauderdale to Amsterdam. I had never crossed the ocean by ship before, so I was looking forward to the experience.
We flew in from Detroit on the day of the cruise. Transfer from the airport was smooth and the Celebrity personnel at the airport were very friendly and professional. Embarkation was uneventful at the cruise ship terminal and took only a few minutes.
We sailed on time for Bermuda and spent the next two days at sea. One day was quite rough and there were many people on board that were uncomfortable with the motion. However, it never reached the point where the dining room was empty or people were staying in their cabin. Overnight in Bermuda, then 6 days at sea to Spain.
We enjoyed very much the extended time at sea. Celebrity provides the usual roster of activities but does not pressure the passengers into participating. One of the things we liked about Celebrity was the absence of onboard announcements and pressure tactics to get the passengers to spend money. On other cruise lines, it seemed like a non-stop barrage of announcements for bingo, the art auction, sales in the shops, games on the pool deck, etc. as well someone constantly asking you if you wanted to buy a drink. I really liked the laid-back approach on the Century. There was one announcement mid-day by the Captain to discuss the ship's progress and the weather report, and that was it for the day.
The passengers were largely American, certainly 90%, and over 60. Very well travelled and almost uniformly friendly. Not a party crowd, so if that is what you're looking for, a transatlantic cruise is not for you. Pretty quiet by midnight. It's also not a cruise for people who are interested in sunbathing by the pool. The weather was cool; it was long pants and a jacket on deck, on most days.
Food was terrific in all areas. There is a pasta bar where they make pasta from noon to 1:00 a.m.; it was excellent, as was the pizza. We also enjoyed the casual dining option. Service was outstanding in all dining areas as was the cabin service. Staff was extremely friendly without being overly familiar - they're well trained.
Entertainment - I didn't go to any of the shows so I can't comment on them. There was a string quartet on board from Poland - they were very good. There was also a reggae band from St. Lucia that played by the pool in good weather and in one of the bars - they were also excellent.
I read the complaints from some other reviews about the condition of the ship. I can only say that I thought the ship was in excellent condition. A person would have to get out a magnifying glass and white gloves to find something to criticize - some people just like to complain.
The only issue I have is with the timing of the disembarkation in Amsterdam. The ship arrived at about 7:00 a.m. and we had to be off the ship by 8:15. Our flight didn't leave until 2:30 p.m. and we were transferred to the airport immediately. It would be nice for Celebrity to make arrangments for a later transfer to the airport, or at least a place to store the luggage for a few hours. I would have liked to spend a few hours in downtown Amsterdam rather than at the airport. A small point really in the overall scheme.
I would take this cruise again in a minute and intend to do so in the future. Celebrity and the Century provide a fine experience - I don't think anyone would be disappointed. My previous cruises were with Royal Caribbean - Celebrity is definitely a step up.