November 18, 2006
This was my first cruise, my boyfriend has been on one other cruise with a different line. We chose the Century because, quite frankly, the tickets were reasonably priced, and the dates were perfect for my schedule. We are both the casual type, in our mid-thirties, and we were a little concerned that we would not fit in with the Celebrity's reputation of being a more upscale cruise line, but once we got there we were pleasantly surprised to see that we fit right in.
Embarkation from Miami was absolutely flawless. From Miami airport we took the shuttle...at that point was when we handed over our luggage and did not see it again until we got to our stateroom. We got to the port early and assumed that we would be standing in line for hours, but this was not the case. We went right through Customs and were on the ship within the hour, having lunch and drinks in the port. It was a much better experience then I had thought it would be.
The first night we were exhausted, we did have a few drinks in the Sunset Bar, which was ultimately our favorite place on the ship. We went back there to eat and drink frequently throughout the trip, because it never seemed crowded and the wait staff was excellent. We went back to our stateroom, an inside room which was more than adequate. Both the cabin area and bathroom were larger than the one on my boyfriend's previous cruise. We decided on room service for dinner, which, I have to say, was awful. My boyfriend's meal was completely cold, and mine was barely adequate. We asked them to send another plate for my boyfriend, even the second plate was lukewarm. Our stateroom attendent, Pedro, was very pleasant and attentive, and anything that we needed during the cruise was taken care of quickly.
The first full day was a ship day, we spent most of the day on the resort deck near the pool. The service was one of the best parts of our experience. The wait staff were very aware of our empty glasses, and were right there to get us fresh drinks with smiles on their faces accompanied by a joke. That evening was the only formal evening on the ship. This had been a point of contention before we left on this trip, as I mentioned before we are casual people (esp my boyfriend), and we were not entirely comfortable with the idea of sitting and eating with total strangers. But we got dressed up and joined our table for the late seating, we were seated with two other couples who were wonderful company. The meal was unremarkable, the food was prepared adequately but there was nothing special about it. In our opinion, while dinner was not an unpleasant experience, it was comparable to the food you would get at a wedding reception. Our waiter, Carlos, was excellent. We walked around the ship afterwards, and noticed that had we NOT decided to go to the formal dinner in the Grand, that we would have had plenty of options. The Casual Dining Boulevard was full of people who were still wearing their jeans and T-shirts, which I know is offensive to some real "cruisers" but was just fine by us. We spent the late part of the evening in The Hemisphere lounge, listening to disco music and trying to figure out just what the dance contest was all about. It was a party atmosphere, but there were enough quiet, dark places were you could get out of the way of the action, and remain an amused onlooker.
The second day was our stop in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The weather, unfortunately, was not in our favor. We had decided not to book an excursion in Jamaica, preferring to go to a local beach on our own. However, since it rained the entire day, that was out of the question. We ended up walking aaround the city, doing some shopping and eating and drinking in local places, before we gave up on the possibility of any good weather and headed back to the ship. Our recommendation is that if you have a stop in Ocho Rios, make sure you have an excursion booked. It is not the prettiest place in Jamaica, I am told it is more like Kingston than Negril, and if you want to have a real Carribean experience you must plan an excursion.
That night we went to a comedy show, featuring the great Jamaican comic "Matilda". All we can say is this, definitely not our cup of tea, and although others in the audience did find him funny, we left after about 20 minutes. The night took a turn for the better, as this was the evening that we decided to remain casual and discovered the joys of the sushi bar and the midnight buffet. The sushi was out of this world; we both love sushi and tested our limits on how much two people could eat in one sitting. The buffet later on was amazing. The food was outstanding, presented beautifully, and seemed never-ending.
The next day was our stop in Grand Cayman. Because the weather was still not great, we couldn't dock in George Town as planned. We had to dock at another part of Grand Cayman, and all of the snorkling/water activites were cancelled due to the high winds and waves. The tendering was a smooth, well-planned experience. We were off the ship and on the island in no time. Since our motorboat/snorkeling excursion was cancelled, we were lucky that there was a public beach within walking distance. Other cruisers took buses to George Town to go shopping, since that was pretty much the only other thing you could do. We had dinner at the Grand restaurant that evening, this time was food was much better.
Our last day was on the ship, the weather was still uncooperative so the pool was closed most of the day. During that day we discovered the Cova Cafe, where you can get a wonderful cappucino and then take it to comfortable spot where you can sip and stare out the windows. We also sampled the Grill that day, and ate two of the best burgers we'd had in a long time.
Disembarkation the next day was again, flawless. We received a card in our state room a few days prior letting us know where to go and at what time. We expected huge lines and chaos, and were very pleasantly surprised to leave the ship without a hitch.
Do NOT go to Jamaica with large bills. You will be bombarded with very persistent street vendors as soon as you get off the ship, and they are not in the habit of making change. Exchange large bills for singles at the bank on the ship before you leave.
My boyfriend wants you to know that the exhaust systems in the stateroom and the bathroom are excellent. We were surprised to discover that our room did not smell of stale smoke.
And as smokers, we were also surprised to find that there were plenty of designated smoking areas, set away from the non-smoking areas.
Although there were two thousand people on the ship, it never felt crowded. We could always get a table, and there was always a remote corner on a deck where we could escape to be by ourselves.
As far as not fitting in with the atmosphere of the ship, being casual thirtysomethings, we found that we had absolutely nothing to worry about. There were plenty of couples our age, and enough things to do and places to go on this ship where you didn't feel like a dress code was being imposed on you. When we felt like joining in on the structured evening activities, we did, and we the other nights we were on our own. Overall, we would definitely take another Celebrity Cruise, and the Century, again.