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  #1  
Old January 22nd, 2013, 08:45 AM
velevele velevele is offline
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Default Review, Celebrity Century, Panama Canal 12/19/12 (VERY LONG!)

Review, Celebrity Century, Panama Canal, Dec 2012-Jan 2013

Hi all - time for the review, before I forget everything! Warning, this is very long, and of course, itís my perspective only. Overall, I enjoyed the cruise, but Iím not planning to take another one like it any time soon.

Me. First time on Celebrity, about my 8th or 10th cruise overall, other lines have been Princess, Costa, riverboats, Lindblad, and a couple I canít remember. I normally take rugged land-based vacations (last one to Ethiopia, next one to Iran), and donít consider myself much of a cruiser, so keep that in mind. I was traveling solo. (Most of my previous cruises were with my parents.)

Ship. After reading some of the reviews of Century, I wondered if I was on the same ship! No, it isnít brand-new-out-of-the-shipyards, but I thought the ship was in excellent shape. It was clean and well-kept, everything I needed worked, and I didnít notice any major problems. Despite it being an 1800-passenger ship, it felt fairly small and intimate, and other than on embarkation and disembarkation day, I never felt surrounded by crowds.

Passengers. It was a Christmas/New Yearís cruise, and at one point an announcement was made that about 200 children were onboard, but I never would have guessed that. Century has well-segregated areas for both teens and younger children, and that must have been where they were, because I rarely saw any. (Iím not a fan of children.) Most of the U.S. passengers were, Iíd say, in their 60s or older. A fair number of Europeans, Australians, and South Americans were also onboard, and I thought those passengers tended to skew a bit younger. I never attended any singles events so I have no idea how many other solos were onboard.

Embarkation. I got to the Fort Lauderdale port about noon, and it took me about 45 minutes to get on. Boarding was by cabin type, not by last name as Iíve encountered before. The security line (airport-type) was long but moved very quickly. The checkin line was short but moved very slowly. Lunch in the Islands Cafť that day was the only day I couldnít find a seat inside - very crowded, and a lot of milling around as passengers hadnít yet figured out what types of food were where in Islands. Cabins opened up at about 1.30 or so. My luggage didnít arrive until somewhere between 6 and 7 PM, but I had everything I needed for embarkation day in my small carryon.

My stateroom. I was in 4016, an oceanview stateroom on the starboard side, near the front. I loved this cabin! It was very near a staircase, which took me directly up to the fitness center, and it was extremely quiet (I heard virtually no noise from inside or outside the ship during the entire trip). Iíd been a little concerned because instead of inside staterooms facing it, the medical center faced it, but I heard no noise from there either; the medical centerís entrance faced the elevators rather than the hall, and it wasnít open very many hours a day, either. (I never went in it, but it seemed to be doing a hopping business every time I walked by!) Deck 4 felt very stable to me. Iíve gotten seasick on almost all of my past cruises, but not on this one. I like a very cool room temperature, more so than most people, and by turning the A/C down all the way, it stayed at about 66-68F, which was pretty good.

Food. I never ate in the MDR, Murano, or Aquaspa, nor did I ever use room service. Mainly I ate in the Islands Cafť, with occasional forays to the poolside venues for French fries and potato chips :-), and to Cova for snacks and pastries. (Iím a vegetarian.) I thought the food was okay. Occasionally, it was excellent; occasionally, I didnít like what Iíd selected at all.

Islands breakfast: probably the best variety of all! I donít normally eat sweets for breakfast, but I got very attached to the outstanding fresh hot waffles. The rolls were often stale. Occasionally there were excellent little pain chocolats, but they tended to get snapped up and not replaced. The made-to-order omelets were excellent; I donít like undercooked eggs, so I always asked for mine to be cooked extra-well-done, and it was.

Islands lunch: I often had pizza (there was always at least one and often two vegetarian options) or the salad bar (mysteriously, every day a different selection of toppings was available there - some overlap, but new things came and went randomly).

Islands dinner: Each night, Indian food was available in Islands, and I ate a lot of that, since there were always at least two vegetarian selections. Two of the curries I had there were as good as any Indian food Iíve ever had, and the rest were pretty good also, showing the skills of the Indian head chef. When the soups werenít meat-based, they were also excellent (Iím still drooling over the memory of a cream of corn soup). Sushi was available in the evenings, but the vegetarian selections I tried didnít appeal to me. The pizza and salad bars were also open at night, as well as the stir-fry bar and the pasta bar, both of which were decent vegetarian options.

Islands desserts: Definitely the weak point for me - it tended to be cakes, tartlets, mousses, etc., not really to my taste. Occasionally something excellent would materialize, however (tiramisu, creme brulee, etc.), and then never be seen again. Iíd heard a lot of raves about the ice cream on Century, but I thought it was just ok - sometimes icy, and rather bland flavors for the most part. (Exception: the rocky road, which was outstanding, and which - you guessed it! - showed up once and then never made an appearance again.)

Cova snacks: Pastries in AM and at night, with a midday window of little sandwiches (think salami, brie on bread, etc.). The pastries were often some of the same ones as at Islands, but often there were different ones too, so, keep checking! Cookies were always available at Cova, and ranged from great (peanut butter!) to mediocre (stale chocolate chip). Thereís no charge for any of the food at Cova.

Drinks. After a bunch of dithering, I bought the premium non-alcoholic package during a sale, and I was glad I did - definitely got my moneyís worth. The Panama Canal cruise is a hot one, and I drank tons of bottled water, as well as soft drinks and other iced drinks (mocktails and iced coffees and teas). I loved not having to even think about it. The Cova rapidly became my favorite place to get drinks, even non-coffee ones - I thought it had the friendliest staff of all the bars, and they were happy to give me my AM diet Coke before they even officially opened for the day. The one drinks disappointment is that the Cova drinks menu is NOT the same as the Cafť al Bacio menus Iíd seen posted online - much less variety in the frou-frou coffee drinks I love. However! If you explain to the Cova staff what kind of drinks you like, they will make them for you. One of the bartenders suggested some mocha frozen coffee thingy one day that wasnít on the menu, and I loved it so much I had it pretty much every day the rest of the trip. (Other than to my cabin attendant, Cova was the only place I gave out extra tips other than the ones Iíd prepaid.)

Onboard activities. Mostly quite disappointing - a lot of "how to buy your emerald" and "how to keep wrinkles at bay" kind of things. There were exceptions, though. The activities director Jamie ran a "Thriller flash mob" dance class that was the most fun thing I did onboard - she taught us a two-minute dance routine to Michael Jacksonís "Thriller", and we performed it onstage at the beginning of the crew talent show. Jamie wants to expand this to the whole Celebrity fleet, and I hope she succeeds. It sounds wacko, but the 40 or so of us who did it had an absolute blast. If itís on your ship, go for it!

Lecturers. Hal Tinberg, who did the "forensic DNA" series, was terrific - he was well prepared, his Powerpoint presentations were organized and interesting, and he pitched his talk perfectly at the audience. I missed a few of these and was sorry I had. I wasnít a fan of "Uncle Marty", who gave the Panama Canal-oriented talks; he was knowledgeable, but he did indeed have an avuncular style that I didnít care for. YMMV. I also enjoyed the lectures on "how the ship works", given by the officers.

Fitness. There was a Zumba instructor onboard, Lisa, and she was fantastic - gentle, kind, and enthusiastic at the same time. She gave AM classes on sea days in the theater, and I didnít miss a one. When it was cool enough, she also gave PM classes by the pool. There was no extra charge for these classes. The fitness center opened at 5 AM on sea days but later on port days (??? why? It wasnít attended before 8 AM anyway, on any day). It was well-equipped with treadmills (the only thing I used), and I never had trouble getting one either in the morning or in the late afternoons (on sea days I went twice a day, so I could eat more :-). The treadmills were in good shape. Hint: if the ship is rolling, the ones oriented port-starboard are a lot easier to run on than the ones oriented fore-aft! The temperature was reasonably cool in the AM, but in the PM, when it was full of people and the sun had been beating in through the glass windows all day, it was pretty steamy in there, ugh.

Entertainment. Not the high point of the trip. I went to only one of the evening shows, and found it disappointing - kind of chorus-girl stuff with sequined costumes, not my thing. The classical string trio was okay, playing light classics (think "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik"), sometimes fairly well, sometimes not too technically adeptly. I enjoyed the "Party Band" very much, especially their female lead vocalist, who covered everything from the 1920s to music just released - very competent musicians all (loved her rendition of "Call Me Maybe"!). The a cappella quartet was a disappointment - four very young men from Sweden, doing a lot of things like Michael Buble arrangements. Thereís a LOT of great music out there for four-part male a cappella singers, but unfortunately I didnít hear them do any of it - mostly the sappier stuff. The solo pianist/vocalist and guitarist/vocalist were okay as well but not outstanding - arrangements of light pop music mostly. Unfortunately musicians tended to be booked at the same time - e.g., most days there was live music from 5.30 to 6.15 in several different places on the ship, but then there wouldnít be any live music during other big chunks of the day or evening. I would have liked to have seen it spread out a little more.

Shore excursions. I arranged one shore excursion on my own (Segway riding in Cartagena); did one via people I met in the roll call (Panama overview); and did four through the ship (Poas volcano in Costa Rica; Pacaya volcano climb in Guatemala; ziplining/mule riding/rappelling etc in Puerto Vallarta; and parasailing in Cabo San Lucas). I loved all of these, but of the six, the Panama one was the least successful, for a variety of reasons, and I doubt Iíd do a roll call trip again, though I did enjoy that one. I hope eventually to post reviews of the shore excursions as well, but this review is already plenty long enough. :-)

Disembarkation. It seemed kind of chaotic (there were numerous pages for some non-US citizens who had not done the customs clearance on board), but I had a late flight and had booked the San Diego shore excursion through the ship, so we had a separate room to sit in and were allowed off at the beginning. I was VERY glad I hadnít booked an 11 AM flight, as Iíd thought I might; I donít think anyone got off the ship much before 9.30, and that definitely would have stressed me out. (The San Diego excursion was tons of fun, too!)

In summary: I enjoyed this cruise, but, I didnít feel I was really the target audience for Celebrity (or for mass-market cruising in general), and I expect any future cruises to be on small adventure-styled ships of 100 people or less, such as Lindblad, as least as long as Iím physically able to do that. Iíd cruise with Celebrity again, but I definitely learned that large-ship cruising isnít my preferred vacation. For what they are trying to do, though, I thought Celebrity overall did an excellent job.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velevele View Post
I got very attached to the outstanding fresh hot waffles.
Well, I can relate to that.

Thanks for the review.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 09:00 AM
NorthCarolinaBelle NorthCarolinaBelle is offline
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Thanks for the great review!
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 09:14 AM
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Thanks for your review.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 10:11 AM
Muushka Muushka is offline
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Thank you for your great review. It was long, but very easy to read. Paragraphs!
I look forward to reading more of your review (wondering about the Panama aspect).

We hope to do a PC cruise one of these days.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 11:27 AM
Baatman Baatman is offline
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A good review...the Jackson dance sounds like a blast.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 12:55 PM
velevele velevele is offline
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Thanks all for the nice comments! The Jackson thing WAS a blast. I can't believe I'm doing this, but if anyone wants to see it, it's on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-N3_rgyEMWQ
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 05:07 PM
cpl100 cpl100 is offline
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That looked like so much fun. I would definitely do that! Thanks for posting the video.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 06:56 AM
fishycomics fishycomics is offline
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Interesting. Panama love to hear about it? Imagine if you were on the Equinox?
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 08:25 AM
velevele velevele is offline
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I meant to mention that the Panama Canal transit was GREAT! "Do a complete transit" was on my bucket list and was the reason I booked this cruise. We got slips of paper in our cabin the night before with the estimated transit schedule. Ours started at 4.30 AM, and I set my alarm and was out there then, and was glad I had done that. A few other die-hards were there as well, and we had a great time, bonding in the pre-dawn and starting the transit, just beautiful. That first hour was very special - just the few of us, the entire front of the ship to ourselves, approaching the canal.

By 7 or so it was VERY crowded upfront, and I was glad I'd gotten there early. No one ever asked me to move, but a couple of the other early birds were asked if they'd mind switching places with some of the people in the back, and they politely said no, they'd set their alarms for 4 AM to be there!

I did Gatun Locks from up front (if you are doing any locks from the front, I recommend Gatun), then the others from the bow (which was opened around midday - VERY HOT on the bow, no shade), the stern, and, once, very memorably, the side - got some fantastic photos from that angle!

It was VERY HOT, and there was occasional brief warm rain. Wear sunscreen, take a hat, drink a lot. I stayed out on deck all day - fascinating. If you're an infrastructure geek like I am, you'll be in heaven.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 11:09 AM
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velevele, so interesting to read a review from a different perspective.

So pleased you enjoyed the actual transit, which was the reason you were on the ship, yet you made the best of what the ship had to offer to a more independent traveller like yourself.
It's very interesting to read of different cruising styles going on, on the same ship.

A flash mob from the dance class took place in the atrium on Azura, a P&O cruise I took 14 months ago, and it was excellent. It must be great fun taking part

@ Texed - I knew you would turn up as soon as I got to the waffles part, and sure enough, yours was the first response
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 11:31 AM
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Thanks for the report!
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 11:57 AM
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Thank you!
I am certain now that we have to do this cruise. My DH would love the transit!
When I bring it up though, he seems hesitant (I think because of the length of the cruise).
We are doing 15 nights to Hawaii on the Century next and if he can handle all the sea days then this one will be the next we book.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 03:50 PM
Cruzinram Cruzinram is offline
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Does the Century have the island type serving stations in the buffet or does still have the cafeteria tray type stations?
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 07:12 PM
velevele velevele is offline
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bbeltmom, I loved the sea days, but I'm really good at entertaining myself (I'm an only child :-). If your DH can handle the Hawaii cruise, he can definitely do this one! The transit was FABULOUS and worth the entire trip - I spent almost all of the 12 hours outside, hanging over one ship's rail or the other! I think I took about 500 pictures!

Cruzinram, the "buffet" area involves getting a tray and then going to whatever area serves the food you want. For the most part, you don't help yourself (some exceptions, like the dessert area in the evening). There aren't individual islands, but there are individual areas like for sushi, pizza, carving station, pasta, stir-fry, etc. These are all a more-or-less connected area in the center, with the seating around the perimeter. Not sure if that answers your question, but I can try again if not!

u2cruiser, thanks so much for those comments. I feel kind of like I'm a misfit on cruisecritic :-), but I did feel I made the absolute best of the trip, given that it wasn't my normal preferred mode of travel. And don't get me wrong - I had a great time, and I TOTALLY understand why people get hooked on cruising! It just felt so weird and different to me.
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Old January 24th, 2013, 03:04 AM
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happy cruzer happy cruzer is offline
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Default viewing the canal

Your early am experience sounds wonderful.

Just want to mention that the canal can be enjoyed many ways. I have done a few cruises there. Front or back of the ship when going through the locks is great. But I've viewed from lounges, from the pool area, and even from an outside cabin which was wild when the ship in the lock. Just mentioning so folks don't think that they have to be mobile, early risers to enjoy the transit

Did you try the Aqua Spa Cafe at all?

We will be on deck 4 as well in Alaska. Good know that is quiet and little motion.

Thanks for the review.
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Old January 24th, 2013, 03:25 AM
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Thanks for the review. FWIW it made me glad I chose the Infinity over the Century, just because I really loved the size of Millennium and Cafe Al Bacio

For your day in Colon, did your excursion go out to the Gatun locks? I don't know if there are excursions that do that from the land side like a Visitor Center, museum, etc? Was there any talk on board about going to Panama by bus/car? Google Maps says it's only a few hours away.

Maybe my questions are better asked in the Ports of Call section, but you were there
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Old January 24th, 2013, 03:02 PM
velevele velevele is offline
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Gig103, I'm happy to answer! The Colon excursion I did was a private one arranged through our Cruisecritic roll call, and we did indeed go to the Gatun Locks, which was something I particularly wanted to do - see ships go through from the land side. That was fantastic! It's hard to describe what it's like seeing the tight-fitting ships looming up above you! Panama City is only about 50 miles away, and after the Gatun Locks, we went there by van, crossing the entire isthmus - something else I wanted to do, a continental crossing! Some of the ship-offered excursions went to the Miraflores locks instead of Gatun - not sure if any of them went to Gatun. There are more viewer facilities at Miraflores than at Gatun (a theater and a much bigger viewing platform), but I thought Gatun was overall more impressive. I couldn't find a ship shore excursion that did everything I wanted (Gatun from landside; new locks under construction; transiting the isthmus; seeing the canal from a spanning bridge; and touring Old Panama City), which is why I did the roll call private trip, which did all those things (a very good itinerary, and I'm very grateful to the roll call person who organized it).

I would have much rather had the Cafe al Bacio coffee menu! But the Cova Cafe waiters/bartenders did a great job for me.

happy cruzer, you're absolutely right that there probably isn't a bad place on the ship to view the transit! (With maybe the exception of the dark windowless casino... :-) You definitely don't have to get up at 4 AM to have a great experience. I didn't eat in the MDR, Murano, or AquaSpa Cafe at all, so can't comment on any of those. (I did see some of the AquaSpa food, and it looked pretty good!)

I loved Deck 4. The only downside is that it is up up up to things like the Fitness Center (on Deck 11). OK, I could have taken the elevators, but I was determined to never get in an elevator for the entire trip (which I succeeded at!), because I wanted to eat more.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velevele View Post
Review, Celebrity Century, Panama Canal, Dec 2012-Jan 2013

Hi all - time for the review, before I forget everything! Warning, this is very long, and of course, itís my perspective only. Overall, I enjoyed the cruise, but Iím not planning to take another one like it any time soon.

Me. First time on Celebrity, about my 8th or 10th cruise overall, other lines have been Princess, Costa, riverboats, Lindblad, and a couple I canít remember. I normally take rugged land-based vacations (last one to Ethiopia, next one to Iran), and donít consider myself much of a cruiser, so keep that in mind. I was traveling solo. (Most of my previous cruises were with my parents.)

Ship. After reading some of the reviews of Century, I wondered if I was on the same ship! No, it isnít brand-new-out-of-the-shipyards, but I thought the ship was in excellent shape. It was clean and well-kept, everything I needed worked, and I didnít notice any major problems. Despite it being an 1800-passenger ship, it felt fairly small and intimate, and other than on embarkation and disembarkation day, I never felt surrounded by crowds.

Passengers. It was a Christmas/New Yearís cruise, and at one point an announcement was made that about 200 children were onboard, but I never would have guessed that. Century has well-segregated areas for both teens and younger children, and that must have been where they were, because I rarely saw any. (Iím not a fan of children.) Most of the U.S. passengers were, Iíd say, in their 60s or older. A fair number of Europeans, Australians, and South Americans were also onboard, and I thought those passengers tended to skew a bit younger. I never attended any singles events so I have no idea how many other solos were onboard.

Embarkation. I got to the Fort Lauderdale port about noon, and it took me about 45 minutes to get on. Boarding was by cabin type, not by last name as Iíve encountered before. The security line (airport-type) was long but moved very quickly. The checkin line was short but moved very slowly. Lunch in the Islands Cafť that day was the only day I couldnít find a seat inside - very crowded, and a lot of milling around as passengers hadnít yet figured out what types of food were where in Islands. Cabins opened up at about 1.30 or so. My luggage didnít arrive until somewhere between 6 and 7 PM, but I had everything I needed for embarkation day in my small carryon.

My stateroom. I was in 4016, an oceanview stateroom on the starboard side, near the front. I loved this cabin! It was very near a staircase, which took me directly up to the fitness center, and it was extremely quiet (I heard virtually no noise from inside or outside the ship during the entire trip). Iíd been a little concerned because instead of inside staterooms facing it, the medical center faced it, but I heard no noise from there either; the medical centerís entrance faced the elevators rather than the hall, and it wasnít open very many hours a day, either. (I never went in it, but it seemed to be doing a hopping business every time I walked by!) Deck 4 felt very stable to me. Iíve gotten seasick on almost all of my past cruises, but not on this one. I like a very cool room temperature, more so than most people, and by turning the A/C down all the way, it stayed at about 66-68F, which was pretty good.

Food. I never ate in the MDR, Murano, or Aquaspa, nor did I ever use room service. Mainly I ate in the Islands Cafť, with occasional forays to the poolside venues for French fries and potato chips :-), and to Cova for snacks and pastries. (Iím a vegetarian.) I thought the food was okay. Occasionally, it was excellent; occasionally, I didnít like what Iíd selected at all.

Islands breakfast: probably the best variety of all! I donít normally eat sweets for breakfast, but I got very attached to the outstanding fresh hot waffles. The rolls were often stale. Occasionally there were excellent little pain chocolats, but they tended to get snapped up and not replaced. The made-to-order omelets were excellent; I donít like undercooked eggs, so I always asked for mine to be cooked extra-well-done, and it was.

Islands lunch: I often had pizza (there was always at least one and often two vegetarian options) or the salad bar (mysteriously, every day a different selection of toppings was available there - some overlap, but new things came and went randomly).

Islands dinner: Each night, Indian food was available in Islands, and I ate a lot of that, since there were always at least two vegetarian selections. Two of the curries I had there were as good as any Indian food Iíve ever had, and the rest were pretty good also, showing the skills of the Indian head chef. When the soups werenít meat-based, they were also excellent (Iím still drooling over the memory of a cream of corn soup). Sushi was available in the evenings, but the vegetarian selections I tried didnít appeal to me. The pizza and salad bars were also open at night, as well as the stir-fry bar and the pasta bar, both of which were decent vegetarian options.

Islands desserts: Definitely the weak point for me - it tended to be cakes, tartlets, mousses, etc., not really to my taste. Occasionally something excellent would materialize, however (tiramisu, creme brulee, etc.), and then never be seen again. Iíd heard a lot of raves about the ice cream on Century, but I thought it was just ok - sometimes icy, and rather bland flavors for the most part. (Exception: the rocky road, which was outstanding, and which - you guessed it! - showed up once and then never made an appearance again.)

Cova snacks: Pastries in AM and at night, with a midday window of little sandwiches (think salami, brie on bread, etc.). The pastries were often some of the same ones as at Islands, but often there were different ones too, so, keep checking! Cookies were always available at Cova, and ranged from great (peanut butter!) to mediocre (stale chocolate chip). Thereís no charge for any of the food at Cova.

Drinks. After a bunch of dithering, I bought the premium non-alcoholic package during a sale, and I was glad I did - definitely got my moneyís worth. The Panama Canal cruise is a hot one, and I drank tons of bottled water, as well as soft drinks and other iced drinks (mocktails and iced coffees and teas). I loved not having to even think about it. The Cova rapidly became my favorite place to get drinks, even non-coffee ones - I thought it had the friendliest staff of all the bars, and they were happy to give me my AM diet Coke before they even officially opened for the day. The one drinks disappointment is that the Cova drinks menu is NOT the same as the Cafť al Bacio menus Iíd seen posted online - much less variety in the frou-frou coffee drinks I love. However! If you explain to the Cova staff what kind of drinks you like, they will make them for you. One of the bartenders suggested some mocha frozen coffee thingy one day that wasnít on the menu, and I loved it so much I had it pretty much every day the rest of the trip. (Other than to my cabin attendant, Cova was the only place I gave out extra tips other than the ones Iíd prepaid.)

Onboard activities. Mostly quite disappointing - a lot of "how to buy your emerald" and "how to keep wrinkles at bay" kind of things. There were exceptions, though. The activities director Jamie ran a "Thriller flash mob" dance class that was the most fun thing I did onboard - she taught us a two-minute dance routine to Michael Jacksonís "Thriller", and we performed it onstage at the beginning of the crew talent show. Jamie wants to expand this to the whole Celebrity fleet, and I hope she succeeds. It sounds wacko, but the 40 or so of us who did it had an absolute blast. If itís on your ship, go for it!

Lecturers. Hal Tinberg, who did the "forensic DNA" series, was terrific - he was well prepared, his Powerpoint presentations were organized and interesting, and he pitched his talk perfectly at the audience. I missed a few of these and was sorry I had. I wasnít a fan of "Uncle Marty", who gave the Panama Canal-oriented talks; he was knowledgeable, but he did indeed have an avuncular style that I didnít care for. YMMV. I also enjoyed the lectures on "how the ship works", given by the officers.

Fitness. There was a Zumba instructor onboard, Lisa, and she was fantastic - gentle, kind, and enthusiastic at the same time. She gave AM classes on sea days in the theater, and I didnít miss a one. When it was cool enough, she also gave PM classes by the pool. There was no extra charge for these classes. The fitness center opened at 5 AM on sea days but later on port days (??? why? It wasnít attended before 8 AM anyway, on any day). It was well-equipped with treadmills (the only thing I used), and I never had trouble getting one either in the morning or in the late afternoons (on sea days I went twice a day, so I could eat more :-). The treadmills were in good shape. Hint: if the ship is rolling, the ones oriented port-starboard are a lot easier to run on than the ones oriented fore-aft! The temperature was reasonably cool in the AM, but in the PM, when it was full of people and the sun had been beating in through the glass windows all day, it was pretty steamy in there, ugh.

Entertainment. Not the high point of the trip. I went to only one of the evening shows, and found it disappointing - kind of chorus-girl stuff with sequined costumes, not my thing. The classical string trio was okay, playing light classics (think "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik"), sometimes fairly well, sometimes not too technically adeptly. I enjoyed the "Party Band" very much, especially their female lead vocalist, who covered everything from the 1920s to music just released - very competent musicians all (loved her rendition of "Call Me Maybe"!). The a cappella quartet was a disappointment - four very young men from Sweden, doing a lot of things like Michael Buble arrangements. Thereís a LOT of great music out there for four-part male a cappella singers, but unfortunately I didnít hear them do any of it - mostly the sappier stuff. The solo pianist/vocalist and guitarist/vocalist were okay as well but not outstanding - arrangements of light pop music mostly. Unfortunately musicians tended to be booked at the same time - e.g., most days there was live music from 5.30 to 6.15 in several different places on the ship, but then there wouldnít be any live music during other big chunks of the day or evening. I would have liked to have seen it spread out a little more.

Shore excursions. I arranged one shore excursion on my own (Segway riding in Cartagena); did one via people I met in the roll call (Panama overview); and did four through the ship (Poas volcano in Costa Rica; Pacaya volcano climb in Guatemala; ziplining/mule riding/rappelling etc in Puerto Vallarta; and parasailing in Cabo San Lucas). I loved all of these, but of the six, the Panama one was the least successful, for a variety of reasons, and I doubt Iíd do a roll call trip again, though I did enjoy that one. I hope eventually to post reviews of the shore excursions as well, but this review is already plenty long enough. :-)

Disembarkation. It seemed kind of chaotic (there were numerous pages for some non-US citizens who had not done the customs clearance on board), but I had a late flight and had booked the San Diego shore excursion through the ship, so we had a separate room to sit in and were allowed off at the beginning. I was VERY glad I hadnít booked an 11 AM flight, as Iíd thought I might; I donít think anyone got off the ship much before 9.30, and that definitely would have stressed me out. (The San Diego excursion was tons of fun, too!)

In summary: I enjoyed this cruise, but, I didnít feel I was really the target audience for Celebrity (or for mass-market cruising in general), and I expect any future cruises to be on small adventure-styled ships of 100 people or less, such as Lindblad, as least as long as Iím physically able to do that. Iíd cruise with Celebrity again, but I definitely learned that large-ship cruising isnít my preferred vacation. For what they are trying to do, though, I thought Celebrity overall did an excellent job.

thanks for the great review. What time were the Zumba classes?

I'm sorry I put the "quote" in. I do not know how to post a question on your thread without clicking "quote." Thank you.
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  #20  
Old January 29th, 2013, 02:02 PM
ping1 ping1 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2011
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Talking ooops

Just saw the "post reply" button. I'm sorry people! duh....
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