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Old January 2nd, 2007, 11:36 PM
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Kuki Kuki is offline
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Jan. 2

We’ve been to Grand Cayman quite a number of times, and as there were six large ships in port today, Mrs. K and I decided to spend the day onboard.

Of interest I thought -- I was told the ship’s tours to Sting Ray City were cancelled today, due to the low number of bookings. This is the likely result of the two high publicized, and fairly recent deaths as result of sting ray encounters. Totally isolated accidents really, but this certainly clearly shows the effects these types of incidents can have. You have to feel for all the tour operators who were generally all kept busy with these popular excursions.

I thought in today’s report I’d talk about the ship itself, and the “Century cruise experience“, and not just the group’s activities. You can find many of my descriptions about the ship in the “Century Make Over? article back in November, located in Ship Features Articles.

Though some of what I’m going to talk about indirectly relates to the group cruise.- but more to some of their individual experiences onboard. They’ve described them to me, but I wasn’t there during these encounters, so I’m not relating personal experiences.

One issue that arose for Larry & Sharon (LS80) -- they had gone to the dining room for open seating breakfast, and were apparently dealt with in a VERY rude manor by the service staff. Details are sketchy, and it’s surprising to hear that this incident would involve this particular couple, as they are one of the sweetest and quietest couples in our group. They were so upset by their treatment, combined with slow service at their dining room table that they went to guest relations to express their complaint. They moved up the ladder a bit at guest relations, but weren’t certain of the position of the person they finally discussed the issues with. At least from what I heard from Larry and Sharon, it doesn’t seem to me that the issue was resolved entirely satisfactorily. But then I’m not sure if it was taken to the Restaurant Manager, or Hotel Director to handle, as should have been the case.

They were offered a table for 2 in the dining room, which would have meant leaving their table with the CruiseMates group. They were then offered reservations at the Islands Café, casual evening dining facilities. Last night the two of them chose that option, and did say they had great service and a very enjoyable meal there, and they as well as their assigned dining room tablemates chose to have dinner there again tonight.
In my view, the proper resolve for this situation would have been for the restaurant manager, or whoever they talked to, should simply asked them to return to their regular assigned table and assured them the service issues would be corrected immediately; with either additional help supplied to their wait team, or a more capable wait team assigned to that table.

The above situation is odd because almost everyone in the group who I’ve talked to talk about the friendly and helpful staff they’ve encountered in every area of the ship. Everyone is duly impressed.

Within the group of 150 I’ve heard a couple other complaints about dining room service, but in many ways this is a “luck of the draw? situation. Though one can say it shouldn’t happen and no excuses are acceptable, in a large staffing situation, there are going to be the odd wink links. The very best thing we passengers can do it is bring it directly to the attention of the head waiter and Maitre ‘D, and if necessary, to the Hotel Director.

Overall the “New Century? is still one of my favorite ships, with beautiful décor, a very easily navigated layout, and excellent food quality. My previous experience on Celebrity ships has left me less than impressed with their buffet offerings. After-all on many cruise lines buffets are simply buffets, a spot to grab a quick bite, long on choices, but often short on taste. On this trip I’ve found the quality of the buffet offerings to be equal to the best I’ve experienced.

And a nice touch on Celebrity are the staff always handy by the buffet offering to carry guest’s trays to a table.

I always considered Celebrity/RCI pizza to be amongst the worst in the industry, and though it may seem odd to talk about pizza in regard to a cruise line more renowned for it’s “fine cuisine?, I find their new pizza to be quite outstanding!

Interestingly, in discussions with Dominique, Murano's Maitre D, we were told that with the Century doing these alternating 4 and 5 day itineraries, Muranos specialty restaurant is pretty much fully booked every evening of every cruise… which is not regularly the case on other Celebrity ships featuring similar alternate restaurants sailing longer cruises.

Tomorrow morning is a group “CruiseMates trivia? that Mike has put together, followed by our gathering for a group picture in the Centrum.

It’s amazing and sad that tomorrow is the last day of this cruise. In so many ways it was exactly what I expected, because of the really wonderful people who visit CruiseMates, and chose to come on this cruise; truly a GREAT GREAT group of people, and the Century has served us all well as an excellent venue for our gathering!
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