Occupation: Director of Engineering
Itinerary: Western Carib
Submit: Submit Review
Date: 10 Sep 1998
Remote Name: 18.104.22.168
Some of my scores are probably lower than others. Don't get me wrong we loved the cruise, recommend it and would do it again. This was
probably our nicest vacation. However, let's call a spade a spade. Somethings are nice and deserve high scores, others are not could and the
scores should reflect this as outlined in the scoring critieria. I think some folks are still trying to be too nice in the scoring. Comments below will
justify some of the items with really low scores. Anyway, I'll try to add comments that don't duplicate those of others. This was our first cruise (family
including wife, son 16, daugher 13).
Embarkation/Debarkation: This was an abosolute mess. Maybe nobody else has figured out how to do this well but I sure hope someone has. It
reminds me of pictures I've seen of immigrants arriving at Ellis Island in NY. When you pay this much for a vacation, I think you have the right to
expect better treatment. You aren't actually ill-treated however this processing should be much faster. More people on staff and improved facilities
will help. It's like being cattle. By the way, luggage didn't get to the cabins until just before dinner so we really couldn't get into comfortable clothes
until real late in the day. Overall, this needs improvement.
Accomodations and Facilities: Rooms were actually bigger than I expected. Clean, bright and well maintained. Of course, this ship is still practically
new but the general maintenance on the ship is quite good. As was mentioned by others, the crew is always cleaning up. When in dock, they're
even painting and washing the outside. I was impressed. A nice touch was when my kids asked for a couple of extra chocolates from the cabin
steward the first night. Every night thereafter, they were greeted with a pile of chocolates on their pillows. They took away quite a cache! The Gym
was just OK. I've seen much, much better. Could have been more electronic stuff for the kids to do (Hey .... maybe not having that much electronic
stuff was a good thing for a week).
Food: Breakfast ... we mostly ate in the cafeteria. Fruit was always plentiful and fresh (we're big fruit eaters). Pass on the pre-cooked eggs and
head for the omlette station. Choices were OK for omlettes. Some of the other breakfast stuff is hard to ruin. Croissants were good. I also liked the
smoked salmon (lox to many of us) however I wish they did better than offer toasted Lender's bagels. Lunch ... again we mostly did the cafeteria.
Food was OK but not overly impressive. Even the salads could have been a little more interesting. Maybe they should have spiced up the lunches
with more ethnic food varieties instead of some of the ho-hum choices. In my opinion, you can forget about the outside grill burgers ... they were
dry, tasteless and overcooked. We're from NY and get real good pizza anywhere. The ship's pizza isn't like home however we enjoyed it (no
scrimping on the cheese). Dinner .... This was actually the best meal of the day. Dining room was elegant and service good. Cooking was generally
French oriented which reflects the head chef's background. Would have liked to see a little greater selection each night however we always found
stuff we liked. Wine steward, like most crew members was friendly and helpful. He wasn't pushing the most expensive wines and helped us sample
many nice reasonable choices. Buffets ... I have little basis for comparison other than land based affairs. Obviously, these were more elegant.
However, food quality was a little spotty. I'm surprised nobody commented on what a logistical mess the Grand Buffet was. Yes, there were some
nice food choices here, and nicely presented. However, I hate waiting in line and that's what you did. You waited in line for 15-20 minutes to take
pictures then back onto the line for another 20-25 minutes to get some food. Much of the food was ho-hum. The nice things, like cold lobster
(leftovers?), went FAST so if you waited until the crowd passed there was no left. Desserts ... beautiful cakes, pastries, etc. however after most
meals there was little room left to really enjoy heavy desserts. Some lighter dessert choices (less sweet and gooey) would have been nice.
Activities and Ports of Call: Shipboard organized activities were OK. No galley tour which we would really have liked. My son (16) got a kick out of
the art auctions, surprisingly. My wifer and I were looking for some relaxing/reading time while on board and there were plenty of good
opportunities and locations for this. Kids program for teens could have been much better. Teens in the 13-16 age group can be hard to get
engaged. You have to work hard at it. Unfortunately, the entertainment crew didn't really try very hard. I was a bit disappointed and I think my kids
were really looking for more. The program for younger ones seemed to go better but then the pre-12 kids are more likely to be joiners if even
moderately well lead. The older kids 17+ don't need much leadership ... they seem to work well on hormones! Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and
Cozumel have been well reviewed by others. Where possible, avoid the ship organized excursions. They're over priced. Are we the only ones who
HATE Key West? After the other enjoyable, exotic ports we found Key West to be cheesy. I'd rather go to Atlantic City or Virginia Beach. I don't
know why Celebrity goes there. Did they run out of available destiniations? Frankly, for my money, give us an extra night in Cozumel.
Things We Liked Best: The food, Sting Ray City (Grand Cayman), Dunn's River Falls, Chankanab beach in Cozumel (get there EARLY! for a good
spot), relaxation, production numbers in the night club, cleanliness
Things We Disliked: Embarkation/debarkation (see above). The whole pool deck thing. To me this needs major, major work to be an asset. From
what I gather, all cruise lines are relatively similar to the Century in this regard. Frankly, the only thing worse than a salt water pool is a crowded
salt water pool filled with hot water. We found it hard to enjoy being outside on the deck since you rarely could get a spot in the shade and there
was no way to get relief in the pool. Also, I just can't understand the idea of a hot tub when the temp and humidity are both over 95. Are all cruises
like this? Obviously, you don't cruise for a dip in the pool (heck I can do that at home) but it would be nice if there were someplace for relief from
the heat when you get back to the boat or those full days at sea. (Celebrity ... if you're listening ... you can really distiguish yourself from the others
by going for fresh water in the pool with a chiller to maintain a comfortable water temperature). Also, the pools close at 7:00 PM so the only time
it's relatively comfortable on deck (in August) is when the pool is closed. The lifeboat drill ... standing crowded on deck, with a life jacket on, in 100
degree heat for 15 minutes is a bit much. You can't hear what they're trying to tell you anyway. Frankly, this is not the Titanic in the ice cold North
Atlantic. If the Century went down, just put on your life jacket, jump in the beautiful 90 degree water and float 'til the next cruise ship comes by (in
about 15 minutes). The tender ride from ship to and from Grand Cayman. Can you belief the boat is not air conditioned. It's 95 degrees pluse
outside, you're crammed in these tiny tender bench seats for 10 minutes to sweat and be otherwise miserable (Celebrity ... invest in air
conditioning. These are more than just life boats!) My wife, who's NEVER hot, complained vehemently. The singer in the night club. No talent,
doesn't know the words to all the songs he's singing, no lung capacity to carry the songs he chooses. It was like a bad night in a Catskills hotel club
during the 60's.
Well, that's it in a nutshell. Would I do it again? You bet! The good things greatly outweight the negatives. Celebrity again? Probably. Maybe in
another 2 years. Possibly try the Bermuda thing.
Hope this helps any who are interested. Feel free to contact me if I can tell you more.
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