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Celebrity Century docked in Ocho Rios Ship:      Celebrity Century

Dates:    Saturday, May 25 - June 1, 2002

Ports:     Ft. Lauderdale, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Key West

Prior to embarkation: Even though our limo was once again inspected at the entrance to the airport, we were able to check in curbside right on time.  Since our flight number had been changed, the automated boarding pass machine wouldn't spit one out, and we stood in a 2-minute line to have it changed.  Since we arrived early, we had plenty of time for breakfast, went through security and boarded the plane without delay.  After a short layover in Atlanta (we make our own plane plans, so we have more control and save money, too), we arrived at FLL at about 11:35.   Got a porter who put us in a cab for the short ride to Port Everglades by 12:00.

Embarkation:  Century's embarkation procedure is the fastest we have experienced.  There was a bit of confusion in the lobby... we were told that someone would check our docs before we continued, and about 100 people were sitting in that lobby, apparently waiting to be checked.  We found, however, that there were two reps at the entrance to the check-in area who were simply glancing at paperwork and allowing people to continue.  We breezed by these two without stopping and no one said anything.  The check-in line was less than 5 minutes, and from there we proceeded to a waiting room where we were asked to be seated in the next vacant rows.  Rather than give boarding numbers, they allow certain rows to embark.  After this short wait, we boarded and were escorted to our cabin by 12:30.  Since we were waitlisted for late seating, two of us went to the dining room to change seating, and two of us went to the Excursion Desk to sign up for a StingRay City tour so we could join our friends who had reserved online.  From there we met in the Islands Café for our Welcome Luncheon.  The next task was a tour of the beautiful spa where we signed up for some treatments and massages.  The mandatory lifeboat drill completed our Embarkation Business.  Time to relax.

Panama Jim is ready...Cabin: Our ocean view stateroom, category 4, #9156, on the Vista (9th) deck, amidships, was nicely laid out and comfortable. We had the two twin beds set up as a queen with a small nightstand on either side and window over the beds. There were two occasional chairs and a side table for room service.  The dressing table had a very large mirror, behind which were bar service shelves and a wall safe operated with a pass code.   The closets and drawers were very generous, but we still stored our luggage under the beds. The bathroom was large and had three tiers of shelves for "stuff", a shower with fully adjustable or hand-held sprayer, and dispensers of body lotion and shampoo.  Hard-milled soap was left every day (no need for a chintzy basket here).  Air conditioning was easily manageable.  We generally heard no sounds from the passageway or adjoining cabins except during one afternoon nap, when the lady next door got raging drunk and let out a feral scream about how cheap her companion was 'cause he wouldn't buy her a $50 ring (she apparently had to pay for it herself), and thought he should open the (expletive deleted) safe so she could get her (same expletive deleted) ring.

Ship facilities: In general, she is very clean and well-maintained.  All public rooms are easily accessible, and beautifully decorated with fresh flowers and fine art.  There were many fine pieces that I wouldn't mind having in my home.

Pools: Both pools were under a retractable cover in the center of the Resort deck, accompanied by 4 jacuzzis and a stage for the band.  Aft of the pool area is the Islands Café (buffet) and forward are the  AquaSpa. I prefer a pool in the aft, out in the open, so I can hear the ocean noises without the din from pool games.

AquaSpa:  My Lord it smells great in there!  Celebrity's AquaSpa Sensory Heaven features aromatherapy and marine products and holistic therapies by Elemis.  The ultimate ocean spa for facial and body therapy offers hair and nail rituals, facials, massages, seaweed heat packs, shiatsu, reflexology, reiki healing, aromatherapy, full body exfoliating and my new favorite... Ionithermie anti-cellulite treatment.  There is a 10% service charge added to your account for all AquaSpa services.  Fitness rituals include personal training sessions, body composition analysis and Yoga.  Enjoy a sweeping forward view of the ocean at the fitness center (no charge for exercise machines and sauna).

Movies:  The Cinema Theater (doubled as a conference center) included "Shreck" at 6 & 10:45; "Ali" at 10 pm; and "Pearl Harbor" at 1:45, 5:30 & 10:30.

Dining:  Hours of operation are adjusted to the ship's itinerary in each port, so don't expect the same hours every day... it's easy to miss a meal that way.

Dining Room : The Grand Restaurant is a gorgeous room with seating on the balcony and sweeping picture window aft.  With one or two exceptions the food was excellent and the service impeccable.  We were originally wait-listed for second seating and had no problems at all switching the original assignment.

Buffet: The Islands Café served buffets that were adequate and tasty, but not nearly as extravagant and sumptuous as those on HAL.  I did enjoy the meals there, though, and never had to stand in a line more than 10 people.  One thing I did like was that when you reach the end of the buffet there are LOTS of dining room stewards there too carry your tray and help you find a nice table (they'll even get you beverages or stuff you forgot).  Since there was no menu posted here, I walked ahead and peeked at the food so I wouldn't load up and find something better on down the line.

Room Service:  The only room service we had was for early coffee and enough croissants and stuff to keep us going all the way 'til breakfast.  You'll be provided with doorknob cards that you fill out at night that will get you coffee, juices, pastries, eggs, meats or cereals any time from 6:30 to 10:00 the following morning.  We were just plain spoiled, that's all!

Soda Cards:  Soda Drink Packages must be purchased for the entire cruise at $4.50 per person per day + 15% gratuity.  You get a sticker on your signature card which will get you unlimited soft drinks at all bars on the ship, except room service or minibar items or canned drinks.

Showroom: The Celebrity Theater boasts generous and comfortable seating  (even enough room for waiters to get through with your beverage order), with good views for everyone, even in the balcony.  We were a little disappointed with the entertainment, though.  The Celebrity Century singers and dancers were pretty good, and the comedian, "The Ladder Guy" was sometimes amusing, but there was no really good singer or magician on this cruise.  We passed on most of it.

Shops: I was really impressed with The Boulevard shops and boutiques on this ship.  They are all wrapped around decks 6 and 7 of the atrium, and selections and value were excellent.  They also offered daily specials such as rings, watches, gold and silver by the inch and leather goods.  They also offered these specials out by the pools.  My only frustration with the shops was when my digicam exploded on the first day and they did not have one on board for sale anywhere at any price!

Jim is thrilled as he adds up his casino winnings !Casino: Fortunes Casino is gorgeous!  This beautiful room spans the width of midships deck 7. I usually judge a casino by its crap table, and I was not disappointed.  There was usually room for one more and it was open every evening.  I even won a little money!

Internet Café:  Online@Celebrity is located on decks 6&7 forward.  Sorry, I forgot to pick up a price sheet, but I know it's not unreasonable.

Excursions: Our friends were able to book their excursion online (up to 14 days prior to departure) and we were able to get tickets on the same boat by going to the Excursion Desk when we boarded.  In your cabin you will find a Planning/Order Form indicating the details of the available excursions.  Warning 1: Some of these have very limited space and sell out very fast and are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.  If there is a trip you absolutely must take, sign up now!  You can order it right away by filling out this form and placing it in the drop box at the excursion desk.  Warning 2: If you want to go with someone in another cabin, put the request for all tickets on one cabin's order.  Last year we split our order and only two of us got to do the Swimming with the Dolphins). You can take another form to be filled out later for other requests.  A Shore Excursion video played continuously on the stateroom TV regarding available activities at the next port. There were 79 shore excursions (some offered at two different times and some with child rates) on the list ... plenty from which to choose.  American currency is welcome everywhere. Take small bills and change.

Ship Activities: We were disappointed by the activities offered on this ship.  Each day we received a Daily Program listing all planned activities, meals, movies, etc. (this is most helpful when there is so much to do).  Production shows, bingo (although pricey), volleyball, ping pong, water games, newlywed game, trivia games, ice sculpting and vegetable carving demos, PingPong tournaments, dance lessons, gambling, dancing, even daily AA meetings are available to fill your time.  Many of these, however, seemed to be during a time when we were in the Dining Room or AquaSpa,

Staff: We ran into our Cruise Director, John  Howell, everywhere!  He has an outgoing personality and wry sense of humor.

Jogi, our cabin steward, was very good. He kept our cabin neat and clean all day and always greeted us by name.

Yusef, our Grand Restaurant waiter, and Sirajan, his assistant, were especially attentive and handled our special requests cheerfully. Andrew, our Dining Room Maître d',  honored our special request of shrimp cocktails for everybody every night!  He visited us each evening and always had something witty or interesting to say.  One night there were no seafood forklets, and none to be found in the galley.  They all apologized for the rest of the cruise, and made a special effort to accommodate us.  It was really no big deal, they were just SO eager to please!    Our wine steward almost ignored us.  I don't think he was a snob, but certainly he was not impressed with the non-alcoholic wine we were drinking.  There is also a bar server, who came over as soon as we arrived at the table, and frequently thereafter for refills of cocktails or soft drinks.  She was most personable and prompt.

Passengers: Hard to tell the average age... most looked to be about 35-50.  I don't know how many children were aboard, but we only saw them at the buffets.

Smoking:  Smoking is prohibited in The Grand Restaurant, Islands Café, Celebrity Theater and the Library.  Throughout the rest of the ship, ashtrays are provided in certain designated areas of the port side.  You are encouraged to do your smoking in Michael's Club where you can also enjoy an assortment of fine liqueurs.

Motion: A lot depends on the weather, but, even though it rained frequently, we had calm seas.  There wasn't much motion at all (except a little vibration aft, , really, and I kinda missed it.  I love the little rocking motion that's just enough to rock you to sleep at night.

Disembarkation: We were served our coffee and pastries in our cabin, cleaned out the rest of our luggage and went to the Islands Café for breakfast.  We waited for about 30 minutes for our color to be called, debarked to the "warehouse", found a porter and our luggage (organized by colors), transferred our overnight stuff to suitcases (so we wouldn't have so much in the carry-ons), and were in a taxi by 9:30 -- plenty of time for our 11:15 flight.


Saturday, Ft. Lauderdale, Embarkation Day:

This shot was included in the cruise video.When we arrived at the pier, boarding had already started.  We were on the ship by 12:30, finding a beautiful keepsake bowl of fruit sent by our cruising friends... so sweet!  After changing our dinner seating and getting StingRay City tickets we had a delicious Welcome Aboard Buffet in the Islands Café. I was very disappointed in the buffet in that the selections were very limited and not a slice of lox to be found anywhere.  We attended the life boat drill in disguise, and for the first time, really enjoyed the sailaway party featuring their excellent party band, Karizma.  We skipped the Official Ship's Tour and the Martini Tasting and went to the Gym for the AquaSpa Drawing (Mel got a free Body  Composition Analysis for demonstrating the machine).  She also won one of the prizes (half-price something or other).  We signed up for massages and Ionithermie, some of which come with complimentary Thalassotherapy Pool privileges.

Melanie and JakeJim and Candy (that's us)
Silas and SheronnSherri and Mace

At the casual dinner we were introduced to our fabulous tablemates, Mace and Sherri (who had also switched from early) and Silas and Sheronn.  Jake and Melanie, of course, are our cruising buds.  Our waiter, his assistant and the bar waitress were professional and prompt.  We also met the dining room supervisor, who proved to be very personable and attentive.  Dinner was relaxed and delicious and set the tone for the rest of our cruise.

Showtime (7:00 for the late seating cruisers) was a Welcome Aboard Presentation introducing the staff, dancers and other entertainers.  We skipped the Late Night Buffet (Italian), and headed to the Casino (a little crowded on the first night). We filled out the breakfast request card, hung it outside and called it a night.

Sunday, At Sea:

Dancing LessonsHa-ha !  Caught Jim dancing... or IS that really Jim ?

What I love about sea days is you can be as lazy as you please.  Room Service woke us with coffee, danish and overbaked croissants which kept us going until breakfast, which we enjoyed in the Islands Café.  We skipped Pictionary and stopped in on Battle of the Sexes.  It was a huge crowd, but the emcee should have been miked, and otherwise left a lot to be desired. The AquaSpa and Boutiques ran specials, of course, and Park West Gallery had their wares all over the atrium areas.  No harm looking.  We decided not to play Snowball Jackpot Bingo until the last night, saving $40 a day ($80 on sea days).

Jake and Mel are a little crazy tooLunch in the Islands Café was boring... not much variety and still no lox.  As it was a rainy day, we spent most of it indoors; some of us napping, some shopping, some getting AquaSpa treatments.  I had an Ionithermie treatment by ShaSha, where she wraps your middle in seaweed algae mud and sticks electrodes in you to zap the cellulite.  I've had them before and they really do work.  No pressure to buy product, either.

Jim sneaked over to the casino to (unsuccessfully) qualify for the Blackjack Tournament.  We skipped the Captain's Welcome Aboard Cocktail Party in favor of a nap, then prepared for a gorgeous formal dinner.  My, the service is great!  The waitstaff remembered our drinks/juice orders and Jim's plain-iceberg-lettuce (he still doesn't know what he's missing!).

All this fresh air and good food has worn Jim outShowtime was after dinner - "Las Vegas - Then and Now" starring four lead performers and the Celebrity Dancers.  I don't remember it.  Either it was so-so, or I didn't go.  I do know we ended up enjoying "Gourmet Bites" (the new alternative to midnight buffets) which were platters of hot and cold hors d'oeuvres and sweets served by tuxedoed waiters.  Very classy and quite tasty.

Note: Ship time changes here from Eastern Daylight Time to Eastern Standard Time.

Monday, Ocho Rios:

Melanie and Jake went horseback riding on the beachAfter our usual wake-up coffee and pastries we headed up for a leisurely breakfast in the Café.  Our friends got up early for the Beach Horseback Riding tour (which they loved) and we were on our own.  We were on a quest for a new digital camera (did I tell you ours exploded the first day?) and walked into town to the Taj Mahal Shopping Center where there were two stores personally recommended by Kristi the shopping lady.  The first store had one camera, $1,000+.  The second store flatly said "no cameras here" but when I showed the brochure to a manager, they found some back in the corner.  The cheapest one, after haggling a bit, was $735 for a really basic one.  Pass.  On the streets we were, however, offered some illegal stuff at really great prices.

Back on the ship, after lunch, we just lounged around and watched the line-dancing lessons waiting for the sailaway party.  The only activity that interested us all day was MatchWord and we got there too late. The daily sales included 70% off Necklaces, bracelets and anklets in the boutique, and a 14 KT gold jewelry clearance in the Jewelry Store.  The show was before dinner for late seating.  Mark Preston, former member of The Lettermen, sang some of his famous oldies while we watched videos of the group from ages ago.  Good show, but nothing special.  After the casual dinner, we caught the end of Seinfeld Trivia and headed up topside for the Caribbean Island Night Celebration which included Ice and Melon carving demonstrations and a Tropical Fruit and Sherbet Buffet Under the Stars.

Tuesday, Grand Cayman:

Jim dances with a sting ray (couldn't get him to dance with ME, though)We love Grand Cayman.  We had a mid-morning excursion to Sting Ray City.  The tour operator was great... showed us how to catch and "dance" with the rays and was out there helping us the whole time.  The water was warm, chest-high and very clear. The videography was by Deep Blue Images (Monique Hansen) Underwater Photographer/Videographer and she did a beautiful job - I believe everybody got on at least once.  We had to hustle to get back for lunch, and settled for burgers, but not after I had a word with the burgermeister who had just closed the grill.  We took a look at the Loose Gemstone Sale, but it was nothing special.  Sailaway was at 4:00, and we skipped the Elegant Tea, art auction, bingo and pool party in favor of Extreme Sports Trivia Challenge.

After informal dinner, we had no energy left for the 50's Rock 'n' Roll Sock Hop, let alone the Midnight Motown Get-Down!  Bedtime.

Wednesday, Cozumel:

Senor Jim and pals are ready for the beachThis is our favorite thing to do at the beach

Aaaaahh... my favorite port!  Cozumel has some gorgeous beaches and the excursions are wonderful.  Having toured enough ruins for my lifetime, we hailed a taxi and were dropped off at Senor Frog's where we rented WaveRunners for an hour or so.  You need to be careful when you get in a cab... the driver promised us the use of umbrella chairs and free drinks with our admission/taxi fare, and when we ordered them, we got an argument that you had to buy a meal to get the drinks. After a little discussion, we got the drinks (such a fuss over a cold Coke!)  We found a covered table just off the beach and enjoyed a pleasant breeze before finding our ride back.

The AquaSpa ran special package sales (usually less expensive on port days, anyway) and we took advantage of the Designer Watch Sale.  Those who stayed on board had a choice of Backgammon, Darts, Table Tennis, Bridge, Basketball Free Throw or Scrabble.

Michael James (The Ladder Guy) was the headliner for the early Showtime.  Not really funny, but entertaining.  Dinner was informal, followed immediately by the Tex-Mex Fiesta, complete with a buffet and line dancing.  OK, not great.  The Newlywed, Not-So-Newlywed Game was scheduled during our dinner, so we missed another thing we really like to do.

Thursday, At Sea:

Another typical sea day... the usual coffee and overbaked croissants led to breakfast in the Islands Café.  We chose to spend this day mostly at the pool.  One of the four of us wore a thong all day, so we planted ourselves on the deck above the pool to avoid the rubberneckers.  We had no problem finding chairs, there was even a reasonable turnover in the chairs right by the pool.  We found time for a few activities and lunch, of course.  We took advantage of the Seiko & Citizen Watch sale at the Jewelry Store and the Century Logo T-Shirt sale (2 for $20) which was held poolside.  Jimmy tried out for the Blackjack tournament, but it "wasn't in the cards" for him this year.  I had another Ionithermie treatment followed by a nap.  Caviar, Champagne & Vodka were offered (at a price) in the Crystal Room (5:00 - 1:00) and Hemisphere Lounge (5:00 - 9:00).

The show (before dinner) was "On Broadway" starring the Celebrity Singers and Dancers.  We've seen similar shows so many times we passed on this one. They also presented the "Cruise in Review" video ($19.95 but the one previewed was not necessarily the actual one from this cruise).  Our friends bought it but we haven't had a chance to see it yet.

Dinner was formal again, and we posed for the obligatory portraits before dinner.  Dinner itself was fancy, but unremarkable.  Lobster was excellent (could only finish two but Yusef (delighted because shrimp forks were provided that night) said I could have another if I wanted.

Butter-Bird at the Grand Buffet...and a beautiful seafood platter, and much, much more!

Le Grand Buffet was held in the Grand Restaurant.  The Photo Only Session (long line) was from 11:45 - 12:15, and grazing was allowed from 12:15 - 1:15.  We missed it, but from what we hear it was outstanding.

Friday, Key West:

It's hard to believe we chose to stay aboard last time.  This town is full of history, beautiful architecture and fabulous restaurants.  I wish we had time for a historical tour... I could stay here for days.  We took a cab about a half-mile down Greene Street and meandered back, hitting prolly every shop (it seems on the last port day of any cruise, I want to look everywhere to see if I missed anything).  The first place was the Key West Lime Shoppe where we had wonderful key-lime-pie-on-a-stick and wonderful cookies that I'm sorry I didn't buy a case of.  In addition to sweets, they had bath items, jelly, dressings and marinades.  We found The Emerald Lady had very high quality jewelry at reasonable prices.  I bought a beautiful gold and silver Kabana necklace that I'd seen elsewhere but couldn't afford.  We lunched at Jimmy Buffet's place.  Conch sandwiches were chewy but tasty.  Now I can say I've been there.

Back aboard the Century, we found all kinds of sales:  Gold-by-the-inch, loose gemstones $10/carat; designer cocktail rings $25, premium cigars; , special souvenir glasses $7.50 including drink, or a full set of 7 for $21; Michel Roux's souvenir mini-menus $4.95 and the usual spa offerings.  Finally, we attended the (final) Snowball Jackpot Bingo game.  We refuse to play every day for $40-80, when the grand prize is usually won the last day.

Our dining room staff was kind enough to pose for this keepsake photoThe show was Michael James, The Ladderman.  This show was not even as good as his last and we left dissatisfied.  Dinner was casual, and we started the tipping ritual early.  I forgot to ask for menus, but refused to pay for the mini-menus, so I have none this year.  We lingered at the table for a long time, and when most diners had cleared out, we asked our servers to pose for a photo.  They were all most gracious and accommodating.  We headed to the photo gallery and purchased photos, portraits and one video (Mel is copying it for us).

Jimmy filled out our Comment Form and was not very flattering.  Although the staff overall earned high marks, we found it lacking in the kind of activities and entertainment to which we are accustomed and have come to expect on a cruise.

We retired to pack, which is usually done in complete silence, as neither of us was ready to go.  I went to the casino to cash in the chips (the black ones are my fave).   We stayed up until all our bags were picked up, hung out our room service order and fell asleep.

Saturday, Debarkation Day:

After coffee we went up to the Islands Café and had a full buffet breakfast (Open Seating Breakfast  was also available in the Grand Restaurant from 6:30 - 8:30), waited around for a short time and our color was called.  The luggage was easy to find, the porter put us in a cab, and we were in the airport in plenty of time to check in for our 11:15 flight.

Despite my husband's negative view, I really enjoyed this cruise.  I can't say it was the best, but I would sail the Century again.

© 2002-05  Candy Brock