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Old January 3rd, 2007, 09:18 PM
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Jan. 3 - Last Full Day of the New Year’s Group Cruise

This was a bit of a tough day; bitter sweet because it’s the last day to enjoy a great group of cruise friends… all of us brought together by CruiseMates. It’s very difficult to describe the bond that’s been felt with everyone in the group throughout this cruise. With a group this size, of course it’s almost impossible to really visit and talk to every single person in the group. However, I do have to say everyone in the group has been really nice, and very friendly towards everyone else in the group. There’s been no cliques or such that I’ve witnessed that might have come in the way of meeting new friends. I do believe that everyone has been made to feel welcome.

A five day cruise just turned out to be way too short. I don’t think there’s anyone in the group who’s anxious to get off the ship tomorrow!

Some are lucky to be staying on for a two day cruise the ship had scheduled, and some chose to book into to make it a full week. And there’s a number from this group who have booked next week’s CruiseMates Group Cruise with me on the Carnival Liberty; and we’ll be joined by others who only booked next week’s cruise.

As a matter of fact, beginning Jan. 6 you’ll be able to switch gears with us and share our Virtual Cruise Reports live daily from the Liberty…right here at CruiseMates. Of course, I’m sure you’ll be busy reading the stories, and looking at the pictures from all those CruiseMates returning home from this cruise too.

Back to this cruise.

A bit of information for those who may have already booked the new Sunset Verandah cabins, or other cabins on the stern, booked for upcoming cruises, or considering booking them…

Though cabins facing aft are often some of the most popular cabins on ships, there are some drawbacks to this type of cabin on the Century that you may find helpful to know. There is a narrow view upwards from the Sunset Bar just below on Deck 11 which allows those below a bit of a peak up to those verandahs, and they are totally open to above, if privacy is a concern. Because the Sunset Bar deck area is pretty popular there are also some mostly noise issues, but mostly noticeable when the balcony doors are open.

The category NS cabins, just below the Sunset Bar, and also facing aft, have some minor problems with “stuff? (sugar and salt packs, napkins, etc.) blowing down onto their balconies from the Sunset Bar area above. And, like the Sunset Verandah’s, there are some noise issues both in the morning when the breakfast crowd eats out there, and in the evening when a guitarist entertains.

If you’re considering an aft, stern facing cabin on the Century, I recommend looking below Penthouse Deck (Deck 10).

I’ve heard some comments from people who sailed the Century a couple of weeks ago regarding encountering a demographic unlike what they had come to expect on Celebrity; more of a party hardy crowd. This was certainly not the case on our sailing. If anything, many people were commenting on the older crowd, and the resulting quiet night life onboard. This demonstrates that these things change from week to week, and that it’s very hard to make accurate generalizations about this type of thing.

To respond in advance to the ever present discussions on dress codes -- on the 4 and 5 night itineraries there is one designated Formal night, and on the 5 night itinerary, one Informal (jacket for men). On formal night most of the male passengers were indeed wearing either tuxedos, or suits. However, there were some wearing just sports shirts and slacks, and they were not turned aside at the dining room door.

For the designated “Informal? night, men in jackets were more a rarity than the norm. Informal nights seem to have gone the way of the hula hoop on most cruise lines these days. Seemingly these days, to the majority of passengers, Informal means casual.
This is not a comment on how things should be, only a reporting of facts as we’ve witnessed them.

At noon today we played Mike’s CruiseMates Trivia, and he did an outstanding job, with questions, and the winning team won CruiseMates luggage tags that Mike and Betty had made. After the trivia we collected in the “Centrum? for a group photo. When the picture gets posted don’t go asking for everyone’s name. We did make one terrific looking and happy group!

The last night’s dinner is always kind of similar, with tip envelopes, thanking the wait staff, and saying goodbye to friends you’ve met during the cruise. Tonight was particularly tough because we got to get to know so many of the wonderful people who visit the site… and now we truly are “cruise mates?. I’m really going to miss table hopping in the dining room visiting so many people each night.

Tomorrow, I plan on a small wrap up piece, with some more ship details… and then I hope the returning CruiseMates will jump in here and share their experiences and opinions, because, of course, we can all only see the cruise through our own eyes.
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