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Caribbean 1103
Caribbean 1103

Cruising on the Century

Ft Lauderdale - at sea - San Juan - St. Thomas, USVI - Philipsburg, St. Maarten - at sea - Nassau, Bahamas - Ft Lauderdale

 
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Rating (out of 5):    Ship    Food    Service    Itinerary

Having done four 7 day cruises, we decided it was time for a 14 day cruise. We couldn't find a 14 day Caribbean cruise that we liked, so decided to do back-to-back 7 day cruises. Some ships do alternating 7 day itineraries just for this event , but we thought it would be nice to try 2 different ships. So we settled on the eastern Caribbean on the Century (Sat - Sat), followed by the western Caribbean on the Grand Princess (Sun - Sun). Due to the cruises being out of sync by 1 day, we spent one night hoteling it between cruises. This page reviews the Century sailing.

Pre-Cruise (Nov 28) - Travelling to Ft Lauderdale

As has become our custom, we flew down to Ft Lauderdale the day before the cruise. No sense being late for the departure. This gives us an opportunity to do a little shopping and to enjoy the warm Florida weather. The weather this time was not the greatest, and Florida was posting some record lows for the season.

The flight down was good, but the airports were very crowded. Once again we were travelling on the US Thanksgiving holiday. Why don't we learn!

Day 1 (Nov 29) - Boarding in Ft Lauderdale

The next morning, we took the hotel shuttle to the airport. We had booked the Celebrity transfer from the airport to the ship. It's really handy as they pick up your luggage at the airport and deliver it to your cabin on the ship. For some unknown reason, Celebrity wouldn't let us book the transfer unless we were landing that same day. So I looked up a flight from Toronto on the Web and gave them that flight number. When we checked in to the Celebrity area at the airport, the girl asked me our flight number, so I said "We're on flight number AC920 from Toronto and we land in ten minutes.". I couldn't resist that!

The embarkation proceeded quite quickly, so we headed to our room to drop off our stuff, then on to the buffet for lunch. After lunch we checked out the ship and did the life boat thingy. We watched some of the other cruise ships leave Port Everglades, then it was our turn and we headed out into the open ocean.

Day 2 (Nov 30) - A Day At Sea

The Century is very similar to the Mercury in both size and age. There are very few balconies. We booked an aft "family" oceanview cabin. The cabin was quite large with a sliding, panelled divider between the bedroom and the sitting area. The view was directly behind the ship, right in the center.

We spent the sea day relaxing and checking out the ship. The ship was finished with a lot of marble and beautiful woodwork. And, being the season, there were Christmas trees and decorations throughout the ship.

The seas were really rough. Marj was a little under the weather, so I went alone to dinner. The dining room was half empty as a lot of the passengers were feeling the effects of the rolling ship.

Day 3 (Dec 1) - San Juan, Puerto Rico

We were scheduled to arrive in San Juan about 4:30 PM, but due to the rough seas, we didn't arrive until after 5:30. Because it was almost dinner time and we had done 2 days in San Juan before, we decided to stay on the ship for the evening.

There were several cruise ships in town, including the 4 masted Club Med 2 ship. We didn't leave San Juan until after midnight, so, needless to say, we missed the sail away!

The fitness center on the Century is unusual in that they have co-located the real fitness equipment (bikes, treadmills, rowing machine, etc) with the "fake" fitness equipment ("fat pod", etc). For some reason, they put the rowing machine (the noisest of all fitness equipment) right next to the fat pod. While I was doing my rowing workout, the fitness instructor asked if I could stop rowing because a lady was trying to sleep in the fat pod. I suggested that the lady could sleep in her cabin (without paying $60 per half hour) and kept on rowing. The staff never interrupted my rowing again, probably because the fat pod was not very well used.

Day 4 (Dec 2) - Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

We arrived in St. Thomas early in the morning. We had booked a kayaking / snorkelling excursion and were picked up at the ship. We bused around the southern shore of the island to a bay with a large mangrove forest. We kayaked through the mangrove lagoon seeing lots of interesting wildlife - birds, lizards, iguana, etc. We stopped at the edge of the lagoon and did some snorkelling. The water was very shallow (about 2 to 3 feet) due to an abnormally low tide, and the fish were very small, but it was interesting.

In the afternoon, we browsed through the shopping area by the cruise ship dock. Lots of jewelry shops and souvenir shops.

Day 5 (Dec 3) - Philipsburg, St. Maarten

This was our first time to St. Maarten. We arrived soon after sunrise and headed off for our snorkelling excursion. We were bused across the island, from Philipsburg on the Dutch side, to Cul de Sac on the French side. From there, we took a small boat across to Pinel Island.The snorkeling there was interesting, but not great. It was a beautiful sunny day, so we didn't mind it at all.

We headed back to the ship for lunch and then walked along the beach and front street after lunch. There seemed to be a lot of new construction going on along the beach front. The town was very busy with people, especially along the street with all the jewelry and souvenir shops.

Day 6 (Dec 4) - Another Day At Sea

Another wonderful day at sea. The sea was a bit bumpy, so another light day in the dining room. There were lots of quite places on the ship, everyone was up at the pool.

Another Celebrity first is the introduction of a sushi restaurant . It is set up in a section of the buffet area every evening from 6 PM to 10 PM. It never seemed very busy, but the sushi was excellent. We never ate dinner there, but often popped in for that final bite after dinner.

Day 7 (Dec 5) - Nassau, The Bahamas

Our stop at Nassau was from 1:30 PM to 7:00 PM. I've noticed that all ships seem to stop here for just half a day. I wonder if that's so they can squeeze more ships in per day. We got off the ship and headed into town. It was very cloudy, and when we hit town it poured in rain for about 1/2 an hour. We got soaked while looking for a shop to hide in.

When the rain let up, he went back to the ship. Being to late to do an excursion, we stayed on the ship for the rest of the day.

Day 8 (Dec 6) - Ft Lauderdale

Wow, a whole week gone already! Disembarking went fine and we headed off to check in to our hotel, and to meet Joan and Dave who were joining us for the second week of cruising on the Grand Princess. This gave us another chance to do a bit of shopping, and to do some laundry ready for week 2.

The previous day I started coming down with a cold. It hit me hard, but only lasted through the weekend, so I was fine for the next cruise.

In summary, I gave the ship 4* (out of 5) as it does not have affordable balconies. I also gave 4* for service because our cabin steward did a poor job of cleaning the cabin. Marj wrote a note to Celebrity after we returned home, and they sent us a $100 room credit for a future cruise. It pays to complain!!