After claiming our bags, we called for the shuttle. We were told that it would be 45-60 minutes, so we opted for a cab. 15 minutes later we arrived at the motel.
It was a complete dump. We would never recommend staying there to anyone! We braved the neighborhood and walked a few blocks to Quiznos for dinner, then returned to the room, counting the hours until we could check out of the flea bag motel and on to the ship.
The next morning around 10:00, I was informed that there would be no space on the port shuttle until 2:30. Again we opted for a cab. So much for the free shuttles. We arrived at Port Everglades around 11:00 and got checked in. We had booked a Concierge Class room, 1016, fwd. Starboard side. We had a special check in line, but still there were no lines to deal with at all even for others checking in.
We were greeted with our complimentary glasses of champagne and proceeded to explore the ship. Around noon, we made our way to our stateroom. We were impressed with the room. My wife especially enjoyed the flowers and the bottle of bubbly that was calling her name. From our stateroom window we could see the QM 2 as well as a HAL ship.
We then made our way to the buffet for some lunch. After further exploration and settling in, we went out on deck as we departed. After a bon voyage drink, we went back to the room (via the casino) to unpack. The casino was offering some gaming lessons, so we spent a few minutes at the craps table since we both wanted to learn.
We had a nice dinner in the restaurant, and then stopped back at the casino. I changed $50 and within minutes at the craps table, I had turned that in to $100! Beginner’s luck I guess. I limited myself to the pass line and odds on the point. I had then lost a few rolls, and quit with $60.
Sunday was spent at sea. We had great weather and spent the majority of the day on the sun deck. Around 10:00 I went back to the stateroom and noticed an envelope on the bed. I opened it, and it was an invitation to the Captain’s table for dinner that night! I quickly called to confirm and then returned to our lounge chairs to share the news with Sarah. She quickly decided to make an appt. with the spa to have her hair done. After her appt., we got ready for dinner and stopped to have some photos taken. Was I ever glad I had a tuxedo with me. At 8:15, we met up with the other guests and Tiffany Etheridge, the Captains Club hostess in the Rendez-Vous Lounge. We enjoyed a cocktail and some hors-d’ourves . Around 8:30, Capt. Pagonis came out to greet everyone. Tiffany then led us in to the dining room for dinner.
It was a very entertaining and interesting dinner. The wine was certainly flowing that night! The three other couples were all around our age range (25-35). We were very excited and grateful for the opportunity. The ladies received roses, and after dinner the Captain made his way to the theatre where he would introduce the Sr. staff. I had asked Tiffany how we were selected, since it was a common question amongst the other guests as well. However, Tiffany could not reveal her secret. I guess we’ll never know!
After dinner, the table was escorted to the theater where we had reserved seats for the show and another glass of champagne.
Monday we arrived in Ocho Rios. It was a bit overcast. They announced disembarkation, and at that moment it began to POUR. We waited a few minutes to see if it would let up, to no avail. We made our way through the rain to the excursions area. We had signed up for the Ocho Rios highlights/dunns river falls trip. It was supposed to be around 2.5 hours or so, with plenty of time to spend at Margaritaville before returning to the ship.
We showed our tickets to the tour operator who then led us to the bus. The guide came on and then gathered the tickets. By this time the rain was slowing so we thought we could still make something of the day. The bus departed, and about 15 minutes in to the ride, the guide announced that we would be arriving at Brimmer plantation in about 30 minutes.
Yep, you guessed it. We were put on the wrong bus. What was supposed to be a 2.5 hr. excursion had just turned in to a 5 hr. saga. Needless to say we were not pleased but we made the best of it. After the plantation tour we stopped for some shopping. Next was Dunns river Falls (finally). Of course when we got off the bus, it was pouring again. Afterwards we soggily made our way back to the bus. We were taken back to the pier and made it to Margaritaville with about an hour to spare. We had just enough time to grab a bite to eat, take a few pictures and head back to the boat. We voiced a complaint with the excursions desk and asked to be contacted by the manager. We were hoping to receive some sort of credit for the error. Later that night we received a note from the manager saying they could not extend a credit, but as a show of good faith, they would not charge us for the more expensive excursion we received!
I was quite unhappy with the tone of the letter. To think they would actually try to charge us more for their own mistake was just plain unacceptable. The next day we returned to the desk and let them know we were not happy with their response. We were told the manager would be contacting us.
The seas that night were very rough. We were sustaining 30 mph winds with gusts to 60. We later found out seas that night were between 12 and 17 feet, quite unordinary for the Caribbean. The dining room was quite empty that night. Sarah had a Transderm Scop patch for motion sickness on but still felt queasy. I wasn’t feeling the best myself, so we decided to head to the room just after the main course arrived.
Tuesday we arrived in Grand Cayman. However, the winds were still high and the seas choppy, and the Port Authority closed to all incoming traffic. We were very disappointed that we were missing Grand Cayman, but there was nothing to be done about it. We then made way for Cozumel. Tuesday night, I returned to the craps table with my $60, and left with $150. I was happy to actually be winning, especially in a casino on a ship!
Wednesday we arrived in Cozumel. We had been to the Mexican Riviera (Cabo, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta0 on a prior cruise and weren’t too impressed with it. However, we really liked Cozumel. We headed straight for Paradise Beach. Sun turned to clouds as a front moved through. We had 10 minutes of light rain, and were beginning to wonder if we would have any good port days at all. Luckily, the storm passed and the sun reappeared. We had a wonderful time in the sun eating chips and salsa, guac, and fish tacos! Later we caught a cab to Punta Langosta mall. I was hoping to find a watch since there since we couldn’t stop in Grand Cayman. I ended up with a nice Tissot T-Touch. When we got back to the room, we were surprised to find an invitation for a bridge tour the following day! Spent some serious time in the sushi cafe before dinner that night too.
Thursday was our next sea day and formal night. Our bridge tour was at 11:00. It ended up being the same couples from the Captain's table plus two others. It was quite interesting and very informative! Luckily I brought my camera. i wasn't sure if they would allow pictures but they did. At dinner that night, lobster tail was the highlight for me. The Baked Alaska parade followed. We stopped back in the casino to kill some time and just watch the tables this time. We strolled through the midnight buffet for some pictures and then called it a night.
Friday was Key West. We had decided to not book any excursions and just do it on our own. We went to Mel Fisher’s museum, and the Key Lime Pie Factory. We had the best pie ever in that store. We then made our way to the bars – Capt. Tony’s, Sloppy Joes, Hogs Breath and Margaritaville. We were back to the boat early and spent the rest of the day out by the pool.
We stopped back at the excursions des to talk to the manager since we still had not heard from her. I explained that I realized we ended up on a more expensive tour, but that it was not our fault, and if we would have wanted that tour we would have booked it originally. It had really messed up our day. I let them know I wasn’t expecting a full refund, but thought we should receive something for the mistake. The manager said she would have an answer for us in 30 minutes. After hitting the sushi bar, we went back to the room and found out that we ended up with a 50% excursion refund and a bottle of champagne, which was fine with us. We got ready for one last dinner, and on our way we stopped to say thanks to the excursions manager for helping us out. After dinner, it was time to pack.
Saturday we arrived back in Port Everglades. Disembarkation was quick and easy. We were off the boat by 9:00, in a cab and at the airport by 9:20. The flight home was quite an experience with all the bad weather. We were flying from Ft. Lauderdale to Chicago, and connecting to Des Moines. We were almost to Chicago when we were told that they were closing the airport due to some snow storms coming through. We were diverted to Indianapolis, where we had to sit out on the tarmac for a good 2 hours, before O’Hare reopened. Finally when we landed in O’Hare, the jetway had problems so it took a good 20 minutes after we arrived at the gate to actually get off the plane!
Luckily for us, our original connection had also been delayed so we were able to get to our next gate and still make our flight to Des Moines. We were about 4 .5 hours late getting home, but at least we made it.
Overall we were very happy with the cruise. This was my 2nd time on Celebrity but the first on Century. We were nervous about the CDC inspection and other recent gripes on the board about the ship, but all we had was a great time on a great ship that had a lot of ‘character”. My wife is now completely sold on Celebrity. She had been on one other cruise previously, our honeymoon cruise on RCCL Vision of the Seas, and I don’t think she would want to go back after sailing with Celebrity. Our only real complaints outside of the excursion fiasco were two main things:
1. Way too many smoking areas, too many passengers not following the smoking rules and not enough staff enforcing the rules. What especially bothered my wife was how smokers would congregate around the elevators.
2. My wife also complained that there were not enough stalls in the women’s public restrooms.
We look forward to sailing with Celebrity again. My wife is really pushing for a Galapagos trip!
6/99 Horizon Bermuda
9/03 Vision Mexican Riviera
1/05 Century Western Caribbean
1/07 Millie Eastern Caribbean