by Joey Brecker-Richardson
October 29, 2005
The Classic Century Nine Night Caribbean Experience
With everything that was going on in Fort Lauderdale at the time of this cruise, We arrived at the Port of Everglades around 10 am and had a wait due to the ship going thru several inspections.
At 2pm we were invited to start the embarkation process that went very smoothly and we were escorted to our stateroom by a well mannered crew member.
We were in cabin 1065 which is a sky suite. The cabin was ready except for the fresh fruit that was in our room shortly after we returned from verifying our dining assignments, which were correct -- a table for two late seating.
Rosa, our cabin steward, was in the hallway upon our return and introduced herself to us and asked if she might come inside the cabin and explain the features of the stateroom. She also indicated that Aries, our butler, would be by in a few moments to introduce himself and to set the standard of service that we desired.
After meeting with Arles, and informing him of the level of service we desired, we were answered with the 5 most beautiful words in customer service -- "it would be my pleasure."
The stateroom itself was average in size; the bathroom was small but very functional. Marble countertops and a bath tub and shower combo with a whirlpool feature.
Overall the entire stateroom was in good condition considering this vessel is over ten years old and scheduled for a dry docking in early 2006. Yes, there are small blemishes but in no way were the defects anything to cause concern.
After unpacking and meeting with the staff that would be on the front lines of treating us famously, we made our way down to the Promenade deck (deck 6) for our bon Voyage cocktail. Piano music was playing in the bar area as we ordered our beverages.
Once our Bon Voyage toast was made we made our way for a slow stroll around the Century to discover what little hidden treasures were available to us for the next nine days.
The ship has new technology all around, but is still able to maintain that old world charm that so many have come to expect of the Century.
It was then time to begin dressing for our first night's dinner -- a casual night -- so while we were getting dressed our butler stopped by with hor'dourves and light beverages.
Assistant Matrie'd Andrzew Ponchek greeted us at the dining room entrance.
Our wait staff consisted of our waiter Reynold and his able-bodied assistant WiWid.
No request was too large for this team, as they went thru the motions of making sure that every one of our requests was met quickly and accurately.
After two days at sea, we arrived at our first port of call Philipsburg, St Maarten.
This was to be our first beach day. Being one of the first to leave the ship, we made our way across the pier by water taxi. (Five dollars USD for unlimited use of taxis). Our destination for the day was Antoine's by the Sea, a small charming little restaurant and beach bar across from the pier, a five-dollar charge per person for lounge chairs WITH cushions, umbrella included! We sat and enjoyed the water and had a leisurely lunch while being waited upon by Leo the restaurant's capable beach person.
Tropical beverages with up to five different alcohols were less than five dollars. The water was warm and inviting. It was indeed all that we remembered, and more. If you visit Philipsburg, look for the Blue chair pads and say hello to the staff at one of the best beach spots on St Maarten.
Our next port of call would be St Lucia; we were scheduled for another beach day, but decided after the sun from St. Maarten had turned me to a crisp, it might be a better idea to do a little browsing in the local shops. Things seamed to be a bit pricy for a duty free shopping experience. The local tradespeople seemed very aggravated and indifferent almost to the point of saying "Americans leave your money BUT go home soon." We did not purchase anything.
Upon returning to the ship our Captain Nicholas Pagonis announced that due to one of the engines having problems we would no longer visit Barbados. Instead, we would move the Antigua stop up one day and add St. Thomas as the forth stop. We were disappointed.
St. Johns, Antigua was OUTSTANDING. Millers by the Sea was the perfect place to unwind, and enjoy the Caribbean Sea water. We arrived by 8:30 am and for almost an hour had the place to ourselves. Once again, a lounge chair was only $5.00 usd. In addition, cab fare from the pier was only $5.00usd one way but our driver Elijah, asked us what time we wanted to return to the ship and was there at the scheduled time to drive us back for an additional $5.00usd per person. St Johns is a lovely place where according to our driver, a person can purchase a home including land for approximately $110,000 usd.
Our last port St. Thomas USVI was a real disappointment. After taking a suggestion that we visit Magens Beach, once we left the port we discovered that the cab fare would be $8.00 usd per person one way and that we would be required to "share" a taxi with up to 14 others and would have to wait until the cab was full before leaving the port.
Once again, we felt the locals or the islanders were downright rude and the shops were indeed nothing more than tourist traps with high prices and low quality goods. We will not visit St Thomas again.
Back onboard the ship, we prepared for the last two days at sea before returning to Fort Lauderdale, and our return flight to Los Angeles.
Our first time on a Celebrity vessel was overall a very enjoyable experience. The crew and staff do an outstanding job; the food in the dining room is as good as in any four star restaurant. The cold soups are fabulous.
We would readily suggest this ship; it may have blemishes, but still is a very fine ship, only enhanced by the superb treatment by the staff.
On a scale of one to five I would give this cruise a 4.3/8 stars (I never give 5, almost never a 4 or above). A one word description of our Celebrity adventure? OUTSTANDING.
The Celebrity Century Review
Cleanliness of Vessel -- ****
Service -- *****
Entertainment -- *
Food Buffet -- ***
Food Dinning Room -- ****
Total experience -- **** 3/8