Hawaii Cruise on the Celebrity Century
11/4/12 to 11/19/12
Due to the length of the review, it is in two parts to help with the download time. The link to the second part is at the top and bottom of this page.
Page 1 Pre-cruise in San Diego, CA; Ship; Dining; Entertainment; Activities
Page 2 Ports of Kona, HI; Kailua Kona, HI; Maui, HI and Honolulu, HI; Ensenada, Mexico
When our friends Jim, Kathleen, Bob and Judy first asked us a year ago if we were interested in doing a 15 day cruise to Hawaii with only four port days, we passed on it. We had been to Hawaii before and I had no desire to go on a cruise with eleven days at sea. I much prefer spending my precious vacation time touring ports.
However, I did change my mind after I decided to retire next year; and we also found a very good price on a suite for the cruise. I figured that maybe it was time I decided to learn how to relax at sea rather than just tour. I am so glad I did, because we had one fun cruise.
Pre-Cruise in San Diego, California
We flew to San Diego the day before the cruise. We don’t like to arrive the day of the cruise, because it is too risky with potential flight delays. It just isn’t worth the stress; plus we were anxious to see our friends, whom we hadn’t visited with in over two years since they live in the Pacific Northwest. We first met Jim, Kathleen, Bob and Judy through our favorite cruise forum www.cruisecritic.com. It’s an online forum where people can meet other people that are going to be on their cruise on a roll call talk board. We were all communicating with each other, along with a lot of other people for a 2005 Vancouver to San Francisco repositioning cruise. The roll call participants decided to name ourselves the Martini Mates and many friendships were made. We even had a reunion cruise to Alaska a couple of years later.
For this reunion cruise, we had all booked the Holiday Inn on the Bay (It has since changed hands and is the Wyndham San Diego Bayside Hotel www.wyndhamsandiegobay.com), which was right across from where the Celebrity Century was to be docked. It was a very convenient location, since there were many interesting sites within a short walk of the hotel. After checking out the room, I took a walk around the immediate area to see what was there. The Bay itself was a beehive of activity with all types of boats and ships. The most interesting were those just across the street at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. The large fleet was all grouped together.
The largest sailing ship was the Star of India. During the day, some of its sails were replaced with ones that appeared to be torn apart by cannon balls.
Probably the most famous one was the HMS Surprise. It was used for the filming of Russell Crowe’s movie Master and Commander. There was also the Soviet B-39 Submarine right behind the Surprise. Because the ship is so large, the figurehead can barely be seen, so I added a close up of it.
The Steam Ferry Berkley is used for exhibits and the store. The USS Dolphin Submarine sits right next to it.
Since Jim was very familiar with San Diego, he wanted to give us a quick driving tour of the area after we were all settled in. The main destination was the Cabrillo National Monument located at the tip of the Point Loma Peninsula. It is the location where a European expedition first set foot on the west coast of the United States in 1542. There is a nice statue of explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. It was a nice photo stop.
But the main attraction was the view across San Diego Bay.
After doing some more touring we returned to the hotel to get ready to go to one of Jim’s favorite restaurants, Tabule. We arrived early and checked out the menu. In talking with the waiter, he told us that the restaurant was closing the next day and would be turned into another type of restaurant. Since Jim had raved about the Raspberry Chipotle Duck they served, we just had to order it. After all, it would be the last chance for anyone to try it. It turned out to be a good recommendation. After dinner we turned in early, since it had been a long travel day.
The next morning I was up quite early due to the three hour time difference from Florida. It was a thrill to be able to walk out the hotel lobby door and see the Century waiting across the street so close to us. The ship started disembarking passengers at 8:30 AM, which seemed rather late considering that she had arrived before 6:00 AM. We would understand why in fifteen days.
After breakfast, Jim and I took a morning walk along the bay to see some of the area sites. We stopped to look at the USS Midway aircraft carrier. Quite an impressive and large ship!
We were disappointed that the large “Unconditional Surrender” statue had been removed. It is the famous statue of a sailor kissing a nurse. It had been on loan to San Diego since 2007, and had been returned to the Sculpture Foundation last May. A new painted bronze version that will look exactly the same is to be installed in December. I was able to find a photo of the old one online.
In a park next to the Midway is the National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military that was established in 2009. It was a wonderful way to celebrate Bob Hope’s contributions to the military. There are 15 statues of military men and women from various wars sitting around the Bob Hope statue, while a sound track of Bob telling jokes plays through several speakers. It would have been nice to sit around listening for a while; but we had a cruise ship to board.
With the ship being right across the street, getting to the ship was easy. As usual we wanted to get on the ship as early as possible to be able to have lunch. We walked over after 11:00 AM and were able to get into the line to complete the paperwork and get our cabin keys right away. We then waited in the large hall for about a half hour until we were allowed to board. It was a very easy process. The cruise had started!
We had sailed on the Celebrity Century in 2009, so we were familiar with it. We prefer larger cruise ships with more venues, but the Century is still an enjoyable ship. Since our previous cruise on Century was only four days long and business related, I didn’t do a review and was glad that I would be finally be able to do one for her. There are rumors floating around that the Century is up for sale; as well as rumors that she is going to have a major make over and stay with Celebrity. I don’t know which way it will go; but I am glad that I would finally be able to spend a lot of quality time on her.
One thing I must say is that she had the friendliest and happiest staff and crew we have experienced in all of our thirty cruises. The Captain and his officers were always stopping to talk with the passengers; and everyone was smiling, even when they weren’t around any passengers. There was something special on the Century that made for a team that really enjoyed their work as well as interacting with the passengers. The friendly fun atmosphere was contagious.
Below is a recap of the various venues and public areas.
Outside Decks and Swimming Pools –
There are two swimming pools, one of which is heated. Unfortunately, it was overheated and felt more like a hot tub; so it was not pleasant to swim in for me. The cold pool was too cold for the cooler temperatures we experienced during the cruise. Living in South Florida does spoil one for warmer temperatures. But it didn’t stop most people from thoroughly enjoying the pools and sun decks. The pool area was also nicely lit at night.
There were four hot tubs, which were well used. They were quite roomy and enjoyable to use.
There were lots of open deck areas and plenty of loungers. Many of the loungers had padded cushions, which made them a great place for me to hang out and read. They were very comfortable.
Deck 6 is the Promenade Deck. It is only a partial promenade and does not go around either end of the ship. Since the weather was normally in the 70’s during the day and the winds were pretty strong, it wasn’t used very much.
On Deck 14, in front of the smoke stack, is a basketball court. It was also rarely used.
Dining Rooms -
Grand Restaurant – This is the main dining room on the ship where we ate all but two of our dinners on this cruise. It is an open designed, two level restaurant with a large grand staircase at the front. Unlike some ship dining rooms, this one seemed to have adequate space between the tables, which made it quite a comfortable place to eat, although it was a little bit noiser. For this cruise the early seating dinner was moved up from 6:00 PM to 5:30 PM and the late seating was scheduled for 8:00 PM.
Islands Café - The buffet has probably been misnamed since it is the old style that doesn’t have the free style food “islands”. This area was my major complaint about the Century. I have been spoiled by the convenience of the food islands on the newer ships and did not enjoy having to wait in the longer traditional buffet type lines. The design also meant that we would have to walk the full length of the buffet area on both sides to see what foods were available.
There was always adequate seating; which can be a problem on some other ships. Perhaps having so many sea days spread out the crowds better.
It was nice to be able to go out the back doors of the buffet and sit outside near the Sunset Bar. It was never crowded out there and a very pleasant area.
Poolside Grill – This dining area is just in front of the buffet and close to the pools. It is split into two sections on either side of the ship. There is a hamburger/hot dog type grill area on the port side, and a made to order sandwich bar on the starboard side. All the food there was very good. I particularly liked the tuna, chicken and egg salads that were available at the sandwich bar. They were good by themselves as a salad or as a sandwich on one of the many different types of breads that were available.
AquaSpa Café - This restaurant had healthier meal alternatives for breakfast and lunch. It was located inside the spa and workout area.
Cova Café - This café is in the Grand Foyer area on Deck 6. In addition to having various coffee drinks for a fee, there were free desserts and snacks. This was also where some of the musical groups would play during the day.
Murano Restaurant - Due to the Century being a smaller ship, it only had one specialty restaurant. There was a $40 per person fee for dinner and a $25 fee for the lunches that were offered on two days. Murano had very good service and was much quieter than the main dining room. I have included photos of the menus and some of the dishes on the menu page at this Link.
As with the Muranos on the larger ships, there was a wine room for a slightly more private experience.
Crystal Room – This is one of the three large lounges on the ship. It is located on deck 7 aft. In addition to being a bar, it was used for various activities and events all day and night.
One of the events scheduled there was the Elite Cocktail Hour. For cruisers who have cruised enough times on Celebrity to qualify for the Elite classification, Celebrity provides free drinks normally during a 5:00 PM through 7:00 PM cocktail hour. In addition to the free drinks, cold and hot hors D'oeuvres are passed around by waiters. It is a very good benefit for being a loyal Celebrity cruiser. Since we had 280 Elite guests on this cruise, the event was held in the Crystal Room to handle the large number rather than the smaller Michael’s Club. With the early seating being moved up a half hour to 5:30 PM, the event was moved up to 4:45 PM, so at least we had 45 minutes to enjoy it each day. It wasn’t the full hour; but it was better than just the half hour it would have been if the time hadn’t been changed. It was a great place to relax with our friends. We would joke and laugh the whole time we were there.
As with so many of the venues, the service was just outstanding. We did have one favorite waiter who recognized us and would get us our normal cocktails as soon as we came in and kept them refreshed until we left. His name was Iwayan from Indonesia. He was a very nice young man who really did a great job. He was certainly one of our favorite crew members, so he earned a Martini Mate pin.
Hemisphere Lounge – This is one of the three large lounges on the ship. It is located on deck 12 forward. Its location makes it a very nice area to sit in with the wide view high above the ocean. In addition to being a bar, it was used for various activities and events all day and night.
Martini Bar – As with all of the Celebrity ships, the Martini Bar serves specialty martinis and other drinks. With its location in front of the Celebrity Theater, it made for a nice area to go to after dinner and before the shows. We have always enjoyed the Martini Bar, but music really took away from the experience. It was way too loud and made it difficult to have any kind of conversations. But even worse was the type of music. I do like most types of music; but some of the music in the Martini Bar sounded like it was being played on an old style record player, and the record was stuck. I understand that Celebrity wants a hipper style of music in the Martini Bar, what they call Up-Tempo; but some of the music was just very strange. Perhaps if it hadn’t been so loud, it would have been more tolerable. Plus no one, including the officers, was allowed to turn it down even when we were the only group in there.
The light colors changed regularly, giving the Martini Bar a constantly changing look that was really cool.
One reason that our group has the name the Martini Mates, is because we go to the Martini Bar after dinner. We started the custom in 2005 and have done so on each cruise we have shared. We wear our pins which are in the shape of a martini glass and have blinking lights. We give pins to those people that join us in the bar on a regular basis and initiate them into our group. We also give pins to our waiters to reward good service. Our favorite Martini Bar waiter this time was Lennox from Jamaica. He was very attentive to our needs and just super friendly. As was his partner Iryna from the Ukraine.
Let me tell you, those little pins are very prized possessions. So many people try to find out where or how they can get one. They even want to buy them from us! But the only way to get them is to be offered one by an original mate. On this cruise, in addition to the waiters, we also had the Captain, the Cruise Director and the Hotel Director wearing the flashing pins. It was quite a sight to behold. I don't know why I didn't take a photo of John wearing his pin.
There were plenty of photos taken of our group enjoying ourselves.
Mast Bar – This bar is located on deck 12 right above the Pool Bar and is primarily used by people that are sunning themselves on the deck.
Michael’s Club – This is richly adorned comfortable setting for a lounge. It is now used to highlight the international craft beer selection and various liquors they sell. In the evening there were pianists or guitarists playing. Since the hours were 7:00 PM till Midnight, I never got to spend much time there when it was operating. We would either be at dinner, the show or the Martini Bar during those hours.
Pool Bar – This bar is the primary bar for people using the pool and loungers on deck 11.
Rendez-Vous Square – This is one of the three large lounges on the ship. It is located on deck 6 aft. In addition to being a quieter more mellow music venue, it had very comfortable chairs and couches. Carol used it regularly for her daily reading. I also did a couple of times; but preferred the padded lounge chairs outside by the pool.
Sunset Bar – This a large bar area at the back of the ship on deck 11. It is also a nice area to sit during the day, since it provides a nice view of the ocean and is partially covered to protect from the sun. Plus with it being at the back of the ship, the wind is much less of an issue.
Celebrity Theater – This was the main theater where the evening shows were performed as well as the larger group presentations during the day. The arrangement of the theater is very good and allows unobstructed views from most seats; but the seats themselves were not good. We found them to be quite uncomfortable, in that seat bottoms were not adequately padded. Plus there were what felt like hard ridges under the seats that were quite uncomfortable. Maybe it was because they were bench style rather than individual chairs, but they need to be replaced.
Even with the seat issues, the theater was quite a good facility, since the lighting and sound systems were top notch.
Cinema – We didn’t go to any of the movies, since the times didn’t work out. I didn’t understand why the movies normally started during lunch and dinner; which was not a desirable time for us. I did, however attend several of the Beyond the Podium speaker presentations, held in the cinema. It worked very well for them.
Most of the shops are located around the Grand Foyer Centrum on decks six and seven.
Logo Shop – This shop had the standard souvenirs, t-shirts and collectibles.
Liquor Shop – As would be expected, this shop had lots of liquors and cigarettes.
Fine Jewelry and Watch Shop – This shop had a very large selection of watches and jewelry. The sales people I talked to were very knowledgeable of the products, and I would expect that they were very good sales people if we had been in the market for any of their items.
Boutique C – This was the high end jewelry shop. There were regular diamond, tanzanite and other seminars to educate about jewels and obviously sell some.
Other Venues -
Grand Foyer -
AquaSpa – The ship spas are always nice facilities. All sorts of massage and facial services are offered, along with the normal beauty shop services.
The spa also had the Persian Gardens area that is an extra cost section.
Fitness Center – This was a small fitness center. There wasn’t the best selection of machines; but they did have plenty of treadmills and elliptical machines. Since I regularly use an elliptical machine at our local YMCA, I planned on using one on the ship with so many sea days. I was very disappointed, well maybe not that much, that I didn’t like the ship’s elliptical machines. The motion of the machine seemed too short and made the exercise uncomfortable for me. But I assume it was just because of what I was used to.
Fortunes Casino – The casino didn’t seem to be as crowded as on other ships; but once again, it could have been due to there being so many sea days with people spreading their gambling over more hours and days. On the first day, the casino was one of the muster drill stations, where we were informed about the safety procedures for the cruise. Other public areas were also used; but it seemed like most of the ship had been stuffed into the casino since it was so overcrowded. People really couldn’t see what the crew was demonstrating due to all of the people and slot machines in the way. It really was solid people between the people seated on the few available chairs.
Guest Relations Desk – I was quite impressed with the service level at Guest Relations. The lines were normally short; but even when they got longer, they moved very quickly. As with the rest of the crew, everyone had a smile and was very pleasant in dealing with all sorts of issues.
Library – Since Carol and I had a good collection of books on our iPads and Kindle, we didn’t take advantage of the library on this cruise. Plenty of other people did and it stayed busy.
Card Room – This was a very popular room and was used by passengers playing many types of games. There were many times when all of the tables were full.
Medical Center – I was surprised at the size of the Medical Center compared to much larger ships. It appeared to be much roomier than those on the Millenium and Solstice class ships. Fortunately, I didn’t need to use their services on this cruise.
Online@Celebrity – This room is broken out into two sections for internet access and computer training. One part is in the hall leading to the main room. In the past when we have signed up for the free 90 minutes of internet/Wi-Fi service we are eligible for as Elite members, we have been able to get the extra 30 minutes that are offered with most of the packages on the first day; but not on this cruise. This was disappointing; but I did find that the connection speed was quite adequate compared to some of the other cruises we have used it on.
Photo Gallery – This was the standard type gallery where you had to hunt for your photos. We were previously very spoiled by the very easy to use system on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, which organized the photos by a folio number for each cabin and also allowed photo viewing over the in-cabin TV. However, since we had plenty of sea days, searching for photos was not that much of a hassle. The below photo is what the gallery looked like when the photos were not on display.
Shore Excursion Desk – Since we rented vans in each port, we had no use for the excursion desk; but it was a beehive of activity for many people.
Cruise Sales Office – Since we already had a couple of cruises booked for 2013, we didn’t need to use the sales office. Plus with the Royal Caribbean shareholder benefit program, there wasn’t much of a reason to purchase future open bookings; which offer basically the same discounts.
We usually book a standard veranda cabin, since the suites are usually much more expensive. We were quite pleased to be able to get a very reasonable price for a Sky Suite on deck 12, Cabin 1222. In fact, it was cheaper than the veranda that our friends had booked, so they took advantage of the pricing and switched to suites, too. It was so nice to have the extra room for a fifteen day cruise; especially one with 11 sea days.
At 246 sq. ft., it was 45% larger than the standard170 sq. ft. veranda cabins. Plus the veranda itself was a very large 179 sq. ft.
It was the first time, we have ever cruised that we had empty drawer space, since there were so many drawers and cabinets.
We did have three complaints about the cabin. For some reason, the thermostat for the air conditioning was backwards. So we had to turn it to over 80 degrees to make it cooler and down to below 60 degrees to make it warmer or turn it off. That wouldn’t have been a big problem if there had been a way to make the temperature less cool. It was either full blast or off.
Another fault we found was the bathroom door. Although the bathroom is a very nice size, when open, the door almost touches the toilet. It makes for a very cramped space.
The other complaint was that both the couch and chairs had almost no seat padding, so we had to put cushions in them to be able to sit in them comfortably. When we visited with our friends who had the same type cabins and chairs; theirs were quite comfortable. I guess that we had just gotten older furniture that was due for an upgrade.
We had a very friendly and efficient cabin support team. In addition to our Stateroom Attendant, Santano from India and Assistant Stateroom Attendant, Jimmi from Indonesia; Celebrity also provided suite guests with a butler. Our butler was Zenobio from India. He was available to handle anything we needed or requested. I don’t know that it would be worth paying extra just for a butler; but it was kind of handy for some things. We did enjoy the extra level of spoiling.
Being a butler, Zenobio was a bit more formal while still being very friendly; but Santano and Jimmi were always happy and smiling when we saw them. They have very difficult demanding jobs; but they really did an outstanding job and maintained a wonderful attitude.
One of the reasons we enjoy cruising with Celebrity, is that we believe their food is better than most of the other lines we have traveled on. The Century food for the most part was quite good. We would never expect to like everything that was served since everyone has different tastes; but we did find the selection and quality to be topnotch. I was particularly impressed by the many different lamb dishes that were served. They were all quite good
We like to go to early seating dinner so that we have time to go to shows in the evening at a reasonable hour. We were very apprehensive when we found out on the first day that the early seating had been moved from 6:00 PM to 5:30 PM. This allowed the second seating to be at 8:00 PM. However, for this cruise it was not as big of a deal, since we only had four port days. It would be a real problem for port intensive European cruises that normally stay in port until at least 6:00 PM.
We ate all but two dinners in the Grand Restaurant. With the cruise being fifteen days and there only being fourteen different menus, we repeated the first night’s menu on the last night; which worked out fine. I normally like to provide copies of the menus for the dining room and bars in our reviews; but since they were basically the same menus as we had on our recent Silhouette Med cruise, there was no reason to put them in this review, too.
The highlight of the evening dinners in the Grand Restaurant were our waiter, Fabian from Jamaica, our assistant waiter, Levent from Turkey and our Head Waiter, Timothy from Jamaica. In our 30 cruises, this was the best team we have ever had. Besides providing top notch service, they were such a pleasure to be with each evening. They really made a difference and we are missing being with them now that the cruise is over. They seemed to like their jobs and really enjoyed working together also.
Our Martini Mate group has a couple of traditions. During the evening hours, we wear the previously mentioned blinking martini glass pins. The other is rather silly, but fun. After dinner on the last night that we are in the dining room, we put on what is called a Gumby Hat. It is a hat that a character from the Monty Python show wore. It is totally stupid, but it certainly provides for a lot of laughing and fun for all. Everyone got into it, even our Cruise Director.
We had our lunches and breakfasts in both the Grand Restaurant and Islands Buffet. We found the Grand Restaurant to have some better selections at times, plus it was a more relaxed setting. The buffet food was fine, but since I didn’t want to wait in lines for some items, I settled for selections that were easier to get. On the last full day of the cruise, there was a brunch in the Grand Restaurant. It is always nice to see the ice sculptures and food carvings.
When we boarded the ship, we were told that there would be a lunch served on one day during the cruise at Murano, so we booked it. The price was $25 per person. We were able to eat in the wine room, which we were pleased about. We asked Carlos, the Maitre de, if we could get the wine room for the dinner we had previously booked and he set it up. For lunch I had the rack of lamb, which was excellent, as were the appetizer and dessert. The Murano menus and some photos of the various dishes are located at this Link.
We ate one dinner at Murano. As always, the food was good, as was the service. The menu had changed since the last time we ate at a Murano, and we were disappointed that they didn’t have the veal chop we liked so much. Since I had ordered the rack of lamb a couple of days earlier for lunch at Murano, I decided to get the surf and turf for dinner. It had a good taste, but the lobster was a little tough. On this cruise, I found the lobster that was served in the Grand Restaurant to actually be better than Murano. Carol also had the surf and turf, and her steak was cold. It tasted fine anyway, so she didn’t want to send it back. On a different note, Murano did have the very best breadsticks I’ve ever tasted, especially the sun dried tomato one. Carlos prepared two dishes at our table, which is always entertaining.
We didn't get to enjoy one of our favorite things about eating in the specialty restaurants, the cheese course at the end of the meal. It is normally offered after dessert; but not this time. I now understand that it is available but it might have to be asked for.
This cruise had a wide assortment of entertainment and activities. I tried to attend as much as I could and was quite pleased for the most part. Our Cruise Director, John Grantham, did a very good job of introducing everyone and preparing us for the next day’s events. He was certainly one of the better CD’s we have had; and he was always talking with the guests on the ship. He was a movie stuntman for many years and he even had a special presentation about it during the cruise. He seemed to be a genuinely nice guy and enjoyed being with the guests and getting to know them. Carol says he was so nice because he comes from her home state of Mississippi.
Jason Chase’s act was described as Dangerously Clean Comedy. He was extremely funny and quite a character. Everyone enjoyed him. In one part, he kept stuffing his mouth with paper. Quite strange!
Doug Cameron was a jazz artist who played the violin. He was very talented and entertaining.
Mario D’Andrea was a guitar playing singer who mixed in some comedy and impressions.
When in Maui, the ship brought in some local entertainers called the Drums of Polynesia. There were performers of all ages presenting native songs and dances. It was very nice to be able to see this special show without having to get off the ship. They did a great job.
Comedian Michelle Balan was one of the four finalists in the 2006 Last Comic Standing television show. She did a great job keeping everyone laughing during her performance
Chuck Gunter was described as a comedy juggler. He was outstanding in both talents. He had a very unique comedy style that was very well received by the audience. In addition he brought up audience members to assist who really got into the action.
Claude-Eric was a cabaret type singer. I went in to get a few photos, but since we had other things going on and his type of music wasn’t my favorite, I didn’t stay for long.
I missed Peter Gossamer’s magic performance because we were dining in Murano during his act. Since I always look forward to magic shows, I hated to miss it. I heard that he was very good.
All of the production show performers were leaving the Century when we got back to San Diego since they had fulfilled their six month contracts. The last performer during the cruise was Cassandra Blair Ward. She was one of the regular cast singers who would be leaving. Cassandra has created a show she called The Diva in Me. She performed brilliantly. It was a real pleasure to see a young entertainer break out of her traditional role in a group and do her own thing in a show she put together. She even did a song with our Cruise Director playing guitar. Plus her music selection was very good. Some people told me they thought it was the best show of the cruise.
Production Shows -
We had three production shows. We were very pleased that we hadn’t seen any of these shows on previous Celebrity cruises. The singers and dancers were as usual very good in all the shows. I normally try not to put too many photos from the shows; but they were so good, I want to be able to remember them.
The first show was called Dance Around the World. It was a very colorful show and our first chance to see the dancers and hear the singers. It was also the first time seeing a gymnastic/aerialist couple who would impress us throughout the cruise.
Liverpool Knights was the second show. I really enjoyed the music selection, since it was all about the British groups that I grew up with. I really enjoyed this show.
A Touch of Broadway was the last show and in my opinion the best one. They had a great selection of music from different shows, and not the same ones we usually hear. The singing and dancing were just outstanding.
At the end after their final bows of the show, John Grantham came out to tell the audience that it was the group’s last show on the Century. He commented on what a great group they had been and how much he had enjoyed working with them. With this being the last show that they would ever perform together on the Century, it was a bit emotional for them. Everyone surrounded John for a big group hug.
One of the concerns I had prior to the cruise was if there would be enough activities going on to keep me occupied for so many sea days. There were many things going on all day and night, many of which we didn't attend. I have included a separate page that contains the Celebrity Today daily activity pages; as well as a page showing the hours of the various venues during the cruise. The page can be accessed by clicking the "Dailies" button at the top or bottom of this page, or by clicking this Link.
Cruise Critic Connections Party (www.cruisecritic.com) - We always look forward to the Connections Party, where the people we have been communicating with for many months on our roll call get to meet each other. The party was held on the second sea day at 11:00 AM. We had gotten a head start by setting up a sail-a-way party at the Sunset Bar on the first day of the cruise as we were leaving San Diego. One of the couples, Carole and Dan, prepared name tags for everyone; which made it very easy to identify people we hadn’t met before.
At the Connections party two days later, we had very good participation. Plus, we were joined by the Captain, Cruise Director and Hotel Director. We were thrilled to have “the big 3” attend. It was a very nice gathering.
Beyond the Podium presentations -
With there being eleven sea days, I had hoped that there would be a lot of interesting speakers to listen to. We had several and I went to many of the talks.
Dirk Younkerman discussed the history and culture of the Hawaiian Islands, as well as nature, wildlife and volcanoes. He and his friend Mickey, who had been on our Cruise Critic roll call, did what they called a Snapshot Rally on the last few days of the cruise. They collected photos taken on this cruise, from anyone on the ship that wanted to submit them. They then titled them, added the photographer’s name and put them all onto a CD that was passed out to all of the contributors on the last day. It was a great idea and very professionally done. There was no cost to anyone and all of the time was contributed by Dirk and Mickey. It gave each of us a chance to see pictures from events that we may not have attended. It was fun to see some of the same things we had seen, but taken from someone else’s perspective. They produced a great package of memories for everyone. For some reason, I never took a photo of Dirk: but I did have one of Mickey.
Sid Quintal discussed present and past day life in Hawaii. His wife also performed some hula demonstrations.
Ray Villard was an outstanding speaker who provided several sessions regarding the Hubbell Telescope, space exploration and even the end of the earth. He was able to take very complicated subjects and make them easy to understand and entertaining. I didn’t miss any of his talks.
Other Activities –
There were many unique activities set up, since we were cruising to Hawaii. We had a Hawaiian Ambassador named June who was in charge of most of them.
Some of the events offered were: Discover Ukulele, Hula & Tahitian Dance, and Hawaiian Arts & Crafts. They taught participants how to make leis and various types of necklaces and bracelets with Kukui Nuts.