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Cruise Ship Review
Celebrity Cruises


by Phil & Linda Parker


We have taken 12 cruises total, 9 with Celebrity, and this was our 3rd cruise on the Century. We dedicate this review to our table mates at late seating Table 501, our table mates at the Master's Table, and especially to Captain Lefteris Konstantanidis, his staff and crew. Thanks for your friendship and everlasting memories.

We arrived at Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades around noon. The Century was docked at Pier 18 and rose tall and proud above her surroundings. I dropped off my wife and luggage at the terminal, went to park the car ($8.00 per day), and then took the free shuttle back to the Century. Upon my return, we entered the terminal and presented our Captain's Club Card and were assigned a boarding number of 0. We took a seat in the Captain's Club section and heard someone say, "Are you Linda and Phil?" It was our BB buddies Barbara and Tom. This was our first meeting and they recognized us by our "Cruise@ddicts" tee shirts. We had talked briefly when I noticed they were boarding Captain's Club members; we excused ourselves and told them we would see them on board.

Through the double doors we went, through the security check, and to the check-in area, where a very pleasant Celebrity agent verified our documents. We received our boarding passes and upstairs we went to find several other passengers waiting to board. We only waited a few short minutes and they opened the doors. We were escorted to our cabin (9092) by a white-gloved cabin steward to find an anniversary bottle of wine from our travel agent. We noticed that our dinner reservations were incorrect, so we proceeded to the "Crystal Room" to change our reservations to late seating.

Having satisfied our dining requirements, we sat in the Crystal Room to plan our next adventure. As we were relaxing, our friend José Sanchez entered the room. We had last seen José in 1996 for the open house of the Galaxy in Port Canaveral; José is now Restaurant Manager on the Century. He asked which table we had been assigned and took my card, filled out another and said we would enjoy this table. He was right, as I will explain later.

We went to the Pool Bar to see if any more of our crew friends were on board. We saw Dominic, whom we had met on the Horizon, and he greeted us with a warm smile and a friendly handshake. We asked him who else was there that we knew; he named several crew members that we had made friends with over several cruises on various Celebrity ships. During the lifeboat drill a bit later, we met some other BB friends, who also recognized us by our tee shirts. Over the last few months we had made numerous friends through the "Cruise @ddicts" bulletin board, and we had made arrangements to meet for a sailaway toast. We met at the Mast Bar, which is located above the Pool Bar. The bartender was our friend Marianne whom we had met two years ago in the Horizon's America's Cup Club.

Dining Among Friends

Century Dining RoomAfter relaxing awhile in our cabin, we prepared for dinner. The table was located all the way aft on the port side by the windows, out of the way of any traffic and in a peaceful corner. Our Waiter, Sasha, Assistant Waiter, Marko, and Maitre d', Marek, were among the most excellent restaurant teams we've had on any cruise. One night I asked Marek what night they served Key Lime pie and he replied they no longer served Key Lime pie in the dining room. Then he pulled out his notebook and asked which night we would like to have it, and the next night we were served Key Lime pie for dessert. Between courses, Sonja Nootebos, the Social Hostess, approached us. She had heard that we had met the captain; we replied that we had met him on the Horizon on our November cruise and that we felt that he was very personable and had a great sense of humor.

That night, when we returned to our cabin, we found an invitation to dine with the Master at the Captain's Table. Sonja did a great job of picking table mates. We hit it off right from the start and became friends for the remainder of the cruise. The captain knew that we frequented Michael's Club and joined us that evening after dinner. As you might expect, he is a highly educated man, very interesting and "down-to-earth" with a great sense of humor. He has a wife and daughter and is a warm and friendly person. Celebrity Cruises has a valuable asset in Captain Lefteris Konstantanidis.


Michael's Club

Michael's ClubLinda is a smoker and I'm a non-smoker. Every night, before and after dinner, we would go to Michael's Club for cocktails. Kim, another BB friend, joined us several nights for drinks. This room is beautiful, decorated in the motif of an old British gentlemen's club. We enjoyed the company of fellow passengers and Biruta, Cigar Hostess and Beata, Bar Waitress. The smoke was offset by the friendliness of the lounge's occupants. In my opinion, a larger smoke eliminator would enhance the ambiance of the room, which has a tendency to become crowded when passengers finally discover its location.

The Ports

Ocho Rios
Ocho Rios, Jamaica is beautiful. Caution and common sense need to be exercised on this destitute Third World island, as certain areas can be dangerous. This was our fourth visit to this paradise, and Linda stayed on the ship while I disembarked to take pictures of the Century, purchase some Blue Mountain coffee and procure a few gifts for some friends. Our table mates booked the Dunn's River Falls excursion and absolutely loved it. We had done that excursion previously and also enjoyed it immensely.

Later that afternoon, we received a call from Sonja to join the ship's Master for sailaway on the bridge. We found the bridge of the Century to be very impressive. We could feel the power of its massive thrusters as we smoothly pulled away from the pier. The maneuverability of this massive 850-foot long leviathan was astounding. When we cleared the pier, we rotated 90 degrees and headed out of the harbor! The captain made it look so easy; his twenty five years of experience was evident as he confidently gave his commands. He jokingly said that the objective was to get the ship out of the harbor without hitting anything -- that sounded like a good plan to me!

Georgetown, Grand Cayman
We opted once again not to go ashore. Tendering ashore is not our favorite thing to do, and besides, this was our fourth visit to the island. Some of our table mates did the Stingray City excursion and raved about it. Perhaps on our next western Caribbean cruise we will book that excursion.

This was the first port where Linda disembarked the ship. We did some "Power Shopping" and ate lunch at Palmeras Restaurant that had been recommended by our BB friends. Great recommendation, gang! Cozumel has changed greatly since our '92, '95 and '97 visits. It has become very commercialized with large corporate businesses as opposed to the quaint, small, family owned businesses that were there originally. In 1992, there were approximately 8,000 residents. Now there are 65,000 residents on the island, and depending on how many ships are in port, the number of people on the island at one time can be as high as 75,000.

Key West, Florida
In Key West, we went to the Keno Sandal Factory and purchased several pairs of sandals. We stopped to check out Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. There, they have a restaurant, lounge and gift shop. Great place for all the "Parrot Heads" out there! We also had to make the required stop at the infamous Sloppy Joe's for some refreshments. We stayed for awhile, but none of our cruise mates or our crew friends showed up, so we moved on. We went back to the Mallory Square area and wandered through a few more shops. Then it was back to the ship to relax for a bit and get ready for our last dinner on board.

Entertainment, Briefly

Days at sea are our favorite. "Oasys" is a fabulous and versatile band. They played Caribbean music by the pool and top forty music in the Crystal Room and Hemisphere Disco. Although we did not attend any of the shows in the Celebrity Show Lounge, our table mates raved about the a capella quartet "Jump Start," the renowned pianist Garin Bader and the comedy of Michael James. Sorry we missed them.

Some Thoughts

The Century is approaching five years old and is showing signs, in some areas, of the many thousands of guests she entertains each week. However, I took comfort in seeing a member of the hotel staff walking around taking pictures of the worn and stained deck coverings, towel storage bins, and other deck areas in need of improvement.

In our opinion, Celebrity's consistently superior service, friendly personnel, excellent cuisine, and attention to detail have made them our cruise line of choice. "Celebrity is only a cruise line -- it's the personnel that make us feel like it's home." To that I would like to add the pride they take in performing their services. And their dedication to quality and customer satisfaction is unsurpassed anywhere! After nine Celebrity cruises, they continue to exceed our expectations.

Photos courtesy of Celebrity Cruises & Ken Smith.


Phil & Linda Parker may be reached at: weluv2cruz@yahoo.com.

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