Name: Carol Gontko
Itinerary: Western Carribean
Submit: Submit Review
Date: 12 Jul 1998
Remote Name: 22.214.171.124
We just got back from our Century cruise that went to the Western Caribbean It was my second cruise (I previously went on a Carnival cruise) and my
husbands first cruise. Celebrity far exceeded all of our expectations. We would definitely go again.
Embarkation: I heard some nightmare stories about this, but it went pretty smoothly for us. We waited in the holding area for about an hour, but this area was
comfortable and had a snack bar and such. A Celebrity representative came by and started doing a sales pitch about the AquaSpa. When we boarded we
headed straight to the Island Café. The food was great. We wandered around the ship after that and had our luggage by about 5:00.
If you know what activities/excursions you want to participate in, do so early. Massage time at the AquaSpa and the more popular shore excursions fill up
pretty fast. If you plan on working out, you also need to reserve treadmill and Stairmaster time.
Food and Service: A lot of other reviews talk about the food, so I won't go into too much detail other than to say it's the best food we ever had and the service
was absolutely outstanding. Every positive comment you heard about the food, buffets and service is true! Ports/Excursions:
Ocho Rios: We took the Plantation Tour which was a trolley like ride that shows you all the types of vegetation that grows there and shares interesting facts
about Jamaica. The tour then took us on a half hour stop to the shopping district. The salespeople here are very aggressive and unpleasant--be prepared to
stand your ground. We climbed Dunn River Falls which is the big attraction here. It as beautiful, but a long climb on some very slippery wet rocks. Some of the
older people and smaller children had a difficult time with this. Expect to get wet! The water in some part you need to go through is waist deep. I don't think
they tell you this beforehand because some people actually wore pants outfits and they were clearly uncomfortable. Also at the end of the tour there is this
local tourist market you are forced to walk through to get back to your taxi. Again, very aggressive and pushy people. A lot of people I talked to didn't like
Jamaica because of the people and would stay on the ship next time.
Grand Cayman: Definitely do the Stingray City tour. This is an experience of a lifetime. If you really want the full experience of having stingrays brush up
against you and everything, book the earliest tour. That's because the stingrays are hungriest at this point and really clamor around that first group of people
and you can reach down and touch them. Once all the other boats come in, the stingrays kind of spread out amongst all the other people. The water is only
about 4 feet deep, so you don't have to be a really great swimmer either. Afterwards, we went into town and brought some Tortuga Rum Cakes.
Cozumel: We booked a snorkeling tour here, but it was stormy all day so all the excursions in Cozumel were cancelled. Celebrity handled it pretty well--the
price of all the excursions was automatically refunded and the entertainment crew came up with an alternative list of things to do on the ship. We ventured out
in the rain and rented a wave runner on Playa San Francisco. It cost $45 for 1/2 an hour which seems pretty steep, but it was fun. If you go into town, the
place to go to is Carlos -N- Charlies which is a big restaurant/dance bar there. We got there late and didn't want to wait for a table so we left, but everyone
else we know who went there had a great time.
Key West: We did the Catamaran Snorkeling Tour. It was OK. The water was clear and there were some fish around, but it wasn't anything spectacular. I
probably wouldn't do this the next time. We also went into town and went through the Ernest Hemingway house. Unless you're a really huge Hemingway fan, I
would skip this place. The house wasn't anything great. There are also 40 -50 cats there that are supposedly original descendants of Hemingway's cats. They
also have 6 toes due to inbreeding or something. A lot of the cats had all sorts of weird deformities. I am a cat lover, so I thought that this was crueler than it
Shopping: I'm not a big shopper, so I don't have much to say about that. On the interactive TV there is a 24 hour shopping channel that gives you tips on
where to shop and what the good buys are. The ship has it's own professional shopper named Robby that gives tips for every port of call. This guy could work
for QVC--I honestly think he must make a huge commission from all the sales they make at the ports.
Disembarkation: Passengers are assigned numbers at random, and you disembark according to those numbers. I've read other people saying that it is worth
it to join the Captain's Club so you can disembark early. We drew a number 15 (out of a possible 17), so we were the last group to be called. Honestly, I don't
see any advantage to getting off the ship first, unless you have an early flight. When we got to the airport we still had 2 and 1/2 hours to hang around the
airport before the flight. Plus, it was a lot easier to locate our luggage because most of it had already been claimed.
Sea-sickness: Before we cruised, I heard from lots of people that cruise ships are so huge you wouldn't feel any movement. Not true. You feel movement and
there were some days where drawers would open and salt and pepper shakers slid off the table because of the current. We don't get sea-sick so this wasn't
a big deal. If you have the tendency to get queasy, it's probably not a bad idea to purchase some sea-bands or something. I also saw a lot of people with little
patches behind their ears, but I don't know what those are called.
Complaints: I guess our one and only complaint was that we weren't sure where the smoking and non-smoking areas were, so we'd be sitting somewhere and
then get to breathe in a lot of second hand smoke. Some areas were designated non-smoking, but it was never really enforced. The crew has to be
exceptionally nice to everyone, so I guess that would put them in an awkward position to make someone put out their cigar/cigarette.
Overall this was the best vacation my husband and I have ever been on! We would highly recommend it. Please feel free to e-mail us with any questions.
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