Friday, January 21, 2011

Goldring Travel's 2011 Celebrity Century Cruise - How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity's Smallest Ship Get?

I am departing tomorrow for a rather unusual cruise for me:  A five day Caribbean cruise sailing out of Miami, Florida on the Celebrity Century.

While my cruising with Celebrity Cruise Lines is fairly normal (I have earned Elite state in its Captain's Club  past passenger program after sailing on the Millennium x2; Constellation x 2; Mercury; Solstice and Equinox..at least that is what I recall), the idea of a short cruise stopping in Jamaica and Grand Cayman isn't what I am normally looking to do.

However, when a friend of 20 years says, "Hey, its my 60th birthday (old bastard isn't he? LOL), so let's get a group together and go on a cruise rather than having the same old party!" I, frankly, had no choice.  So I went to work trying to put together a cruise that 22 people could have some good fun and some upscale experiences at a reasonable price. 

It is going to be interesting to see how it all plays out...from the perspectives of so many different people.  Our group has first timers (I have golf clubs and Florida so why cruise?), ones who cruised 15 years ago, regular mass market cruisers, frequent Celebrity cruisers and, of course, me.

Our accommodations are 10 Sky Suites, 1 Royal Suite and 1 Concierge Class cabin all on Deck 10.  I will see what I can do about providing comparisons between them both from a stateroom layout/amenity standpoint and from a service one.  We are all dining together at late seating in three tables so people can mix and match through the cruise.  I should be able to get some good feedback about the food as well.

One special thing I arranged was the booking out of the entire Murano specialty restaurant for the evening of July 25th for a birthday party in high style.  It will be interesting to see how cocktails followed by dinner in this venue works out.  I have never had anything but a wonderful dining experience in a Celebrity luxury speciality restaurant (Murano, Olympic, etc.)

It is also interesting to note that Celebrity had arranged for a private golfing outing in Jamaica (Cinnamon Hill) including transfers, carts, clubs and greens fees for a very reasonable price.  However, while some in the group were interested most of them want to enjoy the cruise and golf afterward.  The fact that Celebrity is able to organize this for such a small group and at a very reasonable price I think is impressive.

Hey, it snowed this morning and is supposed to be 12 degrees tomorrow.  I guess it is a good time to take a cruise!