We boarded in Miami at around eleven thirty in the morning through the suite line and were on board in minutes, sparkling wine in hand. We wandered up to our cabin and knew immediately we were going to have fun. The sky suite is perfect. It is a misnomer to call it a suite,really, since there is no suite of anything; just a large very comfortable room with a huge veranda with two loungers and a good size table and two dining chairs and a large marble countered bathroom with nice jetted tub and shower. (Be sure to ask for the padding for the loungers. They make it that much nicer.) The cabin was not posh, but it was extremely nice, nonetheless. It had a large round coffee table which served as a dining table when we had dinner in, brought by Challs, the hero/butler. It had a flat panel tv with lots of free and payperview movies on it as well as the usual Celebrity info and it had a dvd player and a list of assorted older but good movies we could take out from the dvd library. We never used it, however, because the ship was too much fun to spend much time watching movies.
Speaking of Challs, our butler ... he really was our hero. Every morning at seven a.m. or so, Challs came and collected our 20 oz. coffee mugs we had brought with us and returned fifteen minutes later with our nonfat lattes. Then we got to lay on the loungers and welcome the day with our coffee. In the afternoon at four, Challs came to the door with a cart and served coffee or tea on china, with little sandwiches and pastries. He would have come back an hour later with canapes, had we let him ... but that would have been ridiculous! I lost my seapass while walking the deck and mentioned it, chagrined, to Challs, thinking I was on my way to guest relations to beg a new one. My mistake. Challs said he would take care of it and a new one appeared a half hour later! Absolutely anything we needed, Challs took care of it. When we wanted to have breakfast on the veranda before the ports, Challs came very very early in the morning and brought it to us ... always with a smile and a sincere desire to please. He was truly wonderful. I hope to some day meet up with him again, he was that kind and nice to us! One evening, after touring Seville on a very hot day, we realized we had to get ready for our second seating dinner and we looked at each other and realized we really did not want to have to deal. We called Challs. He appeared with the dinner menu, just like in the MDR, and we ordered. He set our table ... tablecloth, china, wine and water glasses, flatware ... and then proceeded to serve our courses and leave us to eat them and then return to collect and serve more. It was great! That was the evening we watched a movie after dinner and then, as always, walked the deck late at night. Our steward, Edwin, was pretty invisible, but the cabin was always very well cared for, and the assistant steward, Sarip, was always around to help and smile and open doors for us. Very kind.
The weather was really good. A few windy days but mostly sunny and calm.( I am now officially addicted to transatlantic voyages.) At night I occasionally wore a long sleeve tee shirt to accommodate to evening temps. Walking the deck on the Century was fun. It wasn't one big loop like on the m-class, it was a smaller loop and then steps up to another smallish loop and then down again. It really was a fine stretch to walk and it was charming in its own way. We also never ever took the elevator ... always our policy since the food is so good and plentiful ... and we were on the twelfth deck, the Sports Deck, so we got lots of stairstepping all day. That worked well. Being on the Sports Deck was great. Buffet and pool were one deck down, the walking deck on fourteen was one deck up (no thirteen, of course!) and the half covered, half exposed veranda was perfect. Privacy was not an issue. Practically no one hung over the railing above looking down. It was a huge, comfy veranda and we moved the furniture around all day to follow the sun and shade as we wanted.
In the main dining room, we had a nice table for two and were taken care of by Caner, the wonderful assistant Maitre d' from Turkey,the head waiter, Anthony from Goa, and his assistant waiter, Ivana from Serbia. Caner came to our table every night to talk about the next night's menu and whether we were happy with it. He was incredible to us; he represents the best Celebrity has to offer ... as were most every staff person we had contact with. Amazing! We hated to miss dinner in the MDR ... like when we went to the fantastic Murano's ... which shouldn't be missed ... because we didn't want to make our waitstaff feel bad. Is that nuts? They were so good to us, we didn't want them to feel unappreciated. That's what I love about traditional dining. We had a relationship over two weeks with these wonderful people and they made our trip so much more special. There was also Alex, the sommelier from Chile, who spent time with us talking about wines and Chile and life in general. (All these wonderful staff, btw, we gave extra tips to at the end since they always went the extra distance to make our vacation that much more special.)
The martini bar turned out to be fun and we tried martini samplers there. We also drank scotch in the quiet of Michael's Club before dinner one evening and that felt quite civilized! We never used the casino but enjoyed walking though its nice, smoke-free environment on our way to somewhere else. We also must not be show people because we never really liked the few shows we went to ... with the exception of Sue Denning, the Cruise Director, who had a one woman show that was great. She was great the whole time, actually, but she is also quite talented in her own right.The computer center guys were good and nice in helping me set up my iPad and I must say, the internet access, wireless, was way faster than I had been led to believe. At one point, I tried to use my purchased minutes on one of their wired computers and it took forever. I just logged out before all my minutes disappeared just getting on! But the wireless connection was very fast. I got on, downloaded email, got off, wrote replies, and then went on to send them. Easy. I even surfed the web to see if the ring I was eyeing in the fine jewelry store was a good deal or not. I love my iPad and it served me well on the Century since all over the public areas, reception was good. (The sky suite on the Sports Deck, not so good, btw. I always went outside on the deck to get better reception.)
We had two brunch buffets which were fun. We also went to a Cruise Critic reception and a ... classic level ... Captain's Club reception. Both were very well attended, replete with officers and entertainment and a really nice spread. Celebrity obviously cares about Cruise Critic and says so. They also care about encouraging loyalty from past cruisers and want us to be happy. Half our our ship was past cruisers returning.
My only complaint about the Century was the art. After looking at really good art of various kinds on the Millennium and Constellation, I was disappointed to find very little art on the Century ... no photographs in the halls on the stateroom decks, for example, and very little art anywhere of note. I did find a nice photo of a young Eric Clapton I liked, but very little else.
It is a small complaint compared to everything I did like. The spa cafe was nice, btw, but there weren't a lot of seats available and I certainly would have preferred the t-pool instead. I ended up taking my food elsewhere most often. The gym was nice and packed most of the time. I just did a weight circuit there, preferring to walk outside for cardio and I could always work in and get a circuit done. My DH really liked the Persian Garden and went for a steam every day. He told me they only sold 40 passes for the journey so if this is something you like, sign up on day one. (Also, something I did by accident which paid off is signing up for internet access on day one since there was an added coupon if you did so and I got extra minutes for the same price.) DH also went to the mens' barber for a beard trim and shave twice and loved it and SHE did a very nice job. He looked really professionally groomed each time. Nice touch.
Our ports turned out to be great, although I was sad when we landed in Ponta Delgada in the Azores and our crossing was really over. I loved being on the ocean. All I did was read ... on my iPad ... walk a lot, eat great food ... walk some more ... buy a nice probably overpriced ring which I love ... go to the gym ... sit on the veranda ... and drink way more than usual! It was fun!!! And, as everyone says who takes at TA, very relaxing. I actually got to unwind the cares of the world in that first week!
But back to the ports. In Ponta Delgada, we just walked around and that was great. It was very pretty and old, with fine architecture and tiled building exteriors, like Lisbon as well, and cafes to sit and watch from. A good town to walk around. In Lisbon we did the same. We walked all over Lisbon ... up to the top of the hill where the palace ruins were and down through the crooked charming streets to the downtown area where we sat and ate a nice lunch, surrounded by young smokers!
The ports of Cadiz and Malaga were our favorite stops, though. We took tours with Spain Day Tours (http://www.spaindaytours.com) which were really perfect. At each port, they picked us up promptly and took us, in nice comfortable minibuses with good AC ... which was needed, it was hot! ... and good English speaking guides, Patrick and Isabella ... to Seville and Grenada, respectively. We then picked up local guides to take us to the Alcazar Palace and the cathedral and the old Jewish Quarter in Seville and to the Alhambra Palaces and the old Arab city center in Grenada. Both tours were superb and I highly recommend them. Anna, from the tour company, is wonderful and helpful and will get you whatever kind of tour you want. I cannot say enough nice things about these people. In fact, six of us, took a four hour tour with them in Barcelona which couldn't be beat. For 59 Euros, we were picked up at the pier on the last day, right on time, and Albert, our wonderful driver, took us all around Barcelona, especially to see the incredible Gaudi but also other great architecture in this fine city, and then dropped us all off at our respective hotels. So we got an overview of a large city, taking us up to the Parc Guell that Gaudi did on the top of a hill, for example, which we never could have done on our own without hiring a taxi, and then we got transportation to our hotel door to door from the pier. It was great.
We signed up for two more cruises with Laura Goor, the future cruise sales person on the Century. She was quite nice and helpful and there were perks for signing up while on board. However, new policy, if the price goes down on our staterooms and we want to take advantage of the reduction, we have to now cancel and rebook and therefore lose the perks of booking on board. No real downside to booking early though since you can always cancel before final payment and the deposits were only a hundred dollars per person on board. We booked another TA, the Equinox going westbound from Rome in 2011. Clearly, going westbound, when you live in California as we do, is the way to go. I didn't mind losing the six hours ... although I would have preferred to keep them ... but the flights back from Barcelona to New York to San Francisco in one day have left me jetlagged for more than a week. I look forward to the ports first and the crossing for relaxation and recovery afterward. I haven't taken an S class ship yet and look forward to it ... but I must reiterate that I did love the size of the Century. It felt like home for two precious weeks!
That's it. I am sure I forgot a lot but it's the best I can do for now! Hope you all manage to have sailings as wonderful as we found ours to be!