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Old September 23rd, 2006, 12:02 PM
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Default Going on Century in Nov 2006

Hi...I'm brand new to this board and brand new to cruising as well. My boyfriend and I have already booked a cruise to the Western Carribean in Nov 2006. We chose it mostly because the length of the cruise and the time of year was perfect for us, and we read tons of positive reviews on the food and service. Now that the cruise draws near we have a few questions.

We are definitely a little confused on the "informal/casual" dress nights and are hoping that my bf, not being the formal type, can get away with khakis, collared shirt, and jacket for informal dress. Generally, how would you consider the atmosphere?

We are having difficulty choosing excursions, we don't want to be herded around like cattle (we are stopping in Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman). Any suggestions on what to choose?

Also, we are both in our mid-thirties, but much younger at heart . How do you think we will fit in? We are pretty easygoing people and get along with basically everyone but we are getting the impression that we might be the on younger side of average for this cruise.

Any other opinions on anything would be welcome. The cruise is booked and we are going one way or the other, and we still plan on having a fabulous time, just wanted some thoughts/opinions from those with more experience. Thanks!!

Marlietta
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 08:27 PM
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Marlietta...

In some ways I have to admit I think you may have chosen a cruise line that isn't right for you..... as it does have formal nights, and not a line with what you might call a "vibrant night life".

For formal night a suit is really expected. A jacket, with no tie will work fine for informal nights, and khakis and a golf shirt are fine for casual nights.

As for Ocho Rios and Grand Caymen... In Jamaica I'd recommend the zip line tour, and a stop at Margarittaville. In GC a trip to Sting Ray City is a must.
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 08:37 PM
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Hi marlietta,

Welcome to Cruisemates and to cruising!

We haven't sailed Celebrity, but I've read a lot about it, so I'll give you my opinion .

Your BF should be fine on informal night if by "jacket" you mean sports coat.

On any ship's tour you may feel a bit like "cattle" , but for your first cruise I'd suggest you stick with them. (Other's will probably disagree .)

The most popular excursions seem to be the "Dunn's River Falls" in Ocho Rios, and the "Swim With the Stingrays" in Grand Cayman.

Have a wonderful cruise and be ready to be "hooked"!

Edited to say: I see that Kuki posted while I was "composing". I understood that you knew about formal night and were asking about informal night? I didn't suggest zip-lining because I would never do that! Too afraid of heights !
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Old September 24th, 2006, 11:20 AM
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Kuki. I was a little afraid of that. We chose the cruise primarily because it fit so well with my schedule...I am divorced, two little kids, and it was easy to arrange for child care that week with my ex. Plus we both love good food . We are going to make the best and have fun and even dress up if we have to...why not? What exactly is a zip line?

Fern, yes, I meant sport coat for informal. I am lucky I will get my bf to wear that...there is no way we'll be able to participate in a formal night lol.

Thanks a lot and I welcome more opinions!
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Old September 24th, 2006, 11:08 PM
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Marlietta,

Hi...I'm brand new to this board and brand new to cruising as well.

Welcome aboard!

My boyfriend and I have already booked a cruise to the Western Carribean in Nov 2006. We chose it mostly because the length of the cruise and the time of year was perfect for us, and we read tons of positive reviews on the food and service.

That's a fantastic introduction to cruising!

Which ship?

We are definitely a little confused on the "informal/casual" dress nights and are hoping that my bf, not being the formal type, can get away with khakis, collared shirt, and jacket for informal dress. Generally, how would you consider the atmosphere?

Okay, here's what's expected of your BF:

>> Daytime: Golf Shirts, Polo Shirts, or "T" Shirts and Shorts or Slacks.

>> "Casusl" Evenings: Shirt with Collar, Slacks (Khakis Okay)

>> "Informal Evenings: Shirt with Collar, Slacks, & Sport Coat

>> "Formal" Evenings: "Black Tie" (Tuxedo or Dinner Jacket) or DARK Business Suit with Tie

A cruise of seven nights usually has two "formal" evenings, two 'informal" evenings, and three 'casual" evenings.

The first and last evenings are always "casual." On the third "casual" evening, there is usually a tropical deck party so most gentlemen wear shirts with colorful "Hawai'ian" or "Island" prints and many ladies wear skirts or tops with similar prints.

We are having difficulty choosing excursions, we don't want to be herded around like cattle (we are stopping in Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman). Any suggestions on what to choose?

Jamaica is not exactly the best place to go ashore on your own, especially if you don't know the lay of the land, so go with a tour. In Ocho Rios, choose an excursion that includes the climb up Dunn's River Falls. You'll need to wear your bathing suit under your clothes and bring a pair of SurfWalkers (R) or similar rubber-soled watershoes to do the climb, but this unique attraction is truly fantastic! IIRC, there's a "raft" excursion that goes there, with plenty of partying along the way. If you are even remotely interested in culture, history, or agriculture, the excursion that combines Dunn's River Falls with Prospect Plantation is a very good take.

George Town, Grand Cayman, is a tender port, so I strongly recommend taking at least a short shore excursion in the morning to facilitate getting ashore. Shore excursions have priority for tenders, so passengers who don't take excursions have to wait until a tender has space available. Once you get ashore, you can explore on your own. Seven Mile Beach, located just north of George Town, is one of the best beaches in the world and not excessively crowded. Also, George Town offers some of the best shopping in the Caribbean and it's right across the street from the tender pier. While in George Town's shopping district, be sure to stop by the rumcake stand for some samples (the coconut rumcake is a personal favorite).

That said, there are two excursions that you might want to consider.

>> The shore excursion to Stingray City consistently draws raves from those who participate, but I hesitate to recommend this excursion for everybody because there's probably a strong dose of self-selection behind the raves -- swimming with stingrays is not everybody's cup of tea, but those who would not enjoy it tend not to go there.

>> The "Sea and See" excursion is a fantastic tour of the island's unique attractions on land and underwater. The "sea" part is a harbor cruise on a "semisubmursible craft" (a boat with a special compartment below the waterline where you sit two by two and look out through windows in both sides of the hull; it does not actually submerge) to visit reefs teeming with marine life and the wrecks of the SS Callie and the SS Balboa. The land part consists of a drive through George Town's famous banking district, a photo stop at Seven Mile Beach, and visits to the rock formation called Hell (looks volcanic, but actually limestone eroded to razor sharpness and blackened by algae) and the world's only sea turtle farm (which actually raises the creatures for consumption, but also is very involved in preservation of endangered species).

You'll also notice a stark geological contrast between the two islands. Jamaica is a very rugged volcanic formation, with a ridgeline in excess of 6300 feet above mean sea level -- higher than the peak of New Hampshire's Mount Washington -- and many climatological zones that support a wide variety of crops (which is part of the fascination of Prospect Plantation that I mentioned above). By contrast, Grand Cayman is predominantly a flat, but very large, coral formation covered with tropical vegetation.

Also, we are both in our mid-thirties, but much younger at heart . How do you think we will fit in? We are pretty easygoing people and get along with basically everyone but we are getting the impression that we might be the on younger side of average for this cruise.

Well, let's put this in perspective. The median age of Celebrity's passengers is about fifty-something, bu the mix invariably includes twenty-somethings and eighty-somethings and everything in between. If ten percent of the adult passengers are "thirty-something," that's still between one hundred fifty and two hundred other passengers depending upon the ship. Also, many of the older passengers will gravitate away from the activities toward which you will gravitate. Don't expect the "frat party at sea" for which Carnival is known (and on which our beloved Kuki truly thrives), but you'll find plenty of action to have a good time!

The cruise is booked and we are going one way or the other, and we still plan on having a fabulous time, just wanted some thoughts/opinions from those with more experience.

Great! If you go with that attitude, you probably will have a wonderful time even if you decide that some elements of the cruise are not quite what you would prefer. Be aware that other lines have different policies and lifestyles, so they might be a better match for you. Of course, you can try another line on your next cruise!

Again, have a wonderful voyage!

Norm.
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Old September 25th, 2006, 12:16 AM
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Don't expect the "frat party at sea" for which Carnival is known (and on which our beloved Kuki truly thrives
Actually Norm.. "our beloved Kuki" has been on more Celebrity ships than Carnival ships (I'm an Elite level member in Celebrity's Captain's Club). Besides the reference of Carnival being a "frat party at sea" is only about a DECADE out of date.

But I certainly do enjoy my cruises on both.

Frankly I think the 4 and 5 day cruises that the Century is going to be doing will draw a younger crowd... as do all the shorter itineraries, and I'm sure you'll be disheartened to hear that as well they'll likely carry a much more casually dressed crowd too.
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Old September 25th, 2006, 12:25 AM
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Kuki,

the reference of Carnival being a "frat party at sea" is only about a DECADE out of date.

Well, I hear that it has been toned down some, but my sources tell me that the same basic cadre of passengers still bring the same "party hard" attitudes....

Frankly I think the 4 and 5 day cruises that the Century is going to be doing will draw a younger crowd... as do all the shorter itineraries,...

Well, maybe... and maybe it will draw more "first timers" of all ages who dread the thought of going for a whole week. Still, I'm not persuaded that it was a brilliant move from a marketing perspective. It probably would be more profitable to deploy that ship on exotic itineraries, or perhaps to swap that ship for MV Zenith and send MV Zenith to the South Pacific or some other exotic destination, or perhaps on a world cruise, for the winter.

... and I'm sure you'll be disheartened to hear that as well they'll likely carry a much more casually dressed crowd too.

I'm less persuaded about this. I meet a lot of younger people who relish an opportunity to dress up because our society has become so casual overall. Of course, we'll see what happens....

Norm.
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Old September 25th, 2006, 07:20 AM
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Which ship?

Oops, I forgot to say that we are going on the Century.

Norm, thanks for the descriptions. I was trying to figure out from Celebrity's website what they expect as a dress code, but they do say a couple of different things in a couple of places. I noted that they said that casual day wear (shorts, t-shirts) was not permitted in the main restaurant after 6pm, but is still permitted in the casual dining areas. Then somewhere else it said that casual evening wear is what is permitted in the casual dining area after 6pm. Clarification?? Also, does this mean that we can opt out of formal night and eat at the sushi bar that evening or something if we choose?

If ten percent of the adult passengers are "thirty-something," that's still between one hundred fifty and two hundred other passengers depending upon the ship. Also, many of the older passengers will gravitate away from the activities toward which you will gravitate. Don't expect the "frat party at sea" for which Carnival is known (and on which our beloved Kuki truly thrives), but you'll find plenty of action to have a good time!

That's exactly what I was thinking. We can't possibly be the youngest ones on the ship. And we aren't the frat party types really, we'll be just as happy quietly having cocktails. I just want to make sure that our style of dress won't keep us from doing that! And yes Norm, we will relish the opportunity to dress up because it will be so different from our everyday lifestyle.

Frankly I think the 4 and 5 day cruises that the Century is going to be doing will draw a younger crowd...

We were thinking the same thing.

We were also thinking of the horseback ride on the beach in Jamaica...anyone ever tried that one?
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Old September 25th, 2006, 07:34 PM
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Marlietta,

thanks for the descriptions.

You're welcome!

I was trying to figure out from Celebrity's website what they expect as a dress code, but they do say a couple of different things in a couple of places. I noted that they said that casual day wear (shorts, t-shirts) was not permitted in the main restaurant after 6pm, but is still permitted in the casual dining areas. Then somewhere else it said that casual evening wear is what is permitted in the casual dining area after 6pm.

Celebrity has been having some problems in the area of communications -- not the least of which is publication of three descriptions of the line's standards of dress (web site, precruise information package, and aboard ship) that are not mutually consistent. The standard published onboard is, of course, the one that really counts, so that's essentially what I posted.

BTW, I met one of the company's senior executives at another compan'ys stockholder's meeting last week, s I specifically asked her to bring the matter of miscomunication to the attention of senior management. In our brief conversation, I mentioned the inconsistent dress codes, a pattern of consistent misinformation from che company's telephone centers, and the inaccurate press releases regarding the Cirque du Soleil debaucle aboard GTS Summit and GTS Constellation as recent examples. I think that I caught the executive sufficiently off guard bring some needed attention to the issue.

Clarification?? Also, does this mean that we can opt out of formal night and eat at the sushi bar that evening or something if we choose?

First, let me explain that Celebrity's "Alternative Casual Dining" is very different than most other cruise lines. Most cruise lines simply serve a dinner meal, which may or may not be the same as the meal in the main dining room, on the buffet line. Celebrity's "Alternative Causl Dining" is in the buffet area, but it's a sit-down dinner with full table service (incluidng tablecloths and cloth napkins) and its own rotation of three menus, with food prepared to order as in the main dining room. The seating is limited, so reservations are strongly recommended, and there's a charge of $3.50 per passenger (essentially a tip for the waiter) for this service. This is a bit classier than the buffet offered on most other lines. I have not actually used Celebrity's "Alternative Casual Dining" program, but I understand that the proper dress is the same as for a "casual" evening.

Having said that, I really do NOT recommend Celebrity's "Alternative Casual Dining" for two reasons.

>> 1. On the "formal" evenings, the staff pull out all the stops in the main dining room and the line stages its best shows. If you opt for "Alternative Casual Dining" on those evenings, you'll miss out on a couple major highlights of the cruise.

>> 2. On Celebrity, the prescribed evening attire really does apply in all other areas of the ship. There's no "Alternative Casual Engertainment," so the entertainment options of passengers who don't dress for the "formal" and "informal" evenings are extremely limited.

BTW, I think that Celebirty's continuation of "informal" evenings has the effect of drawing passengers who want the additional opportunities to dress up during a cruise vacation. Thus, the overwhelming majority of passengers really do comply with the dress standard or, if they deviate, do so on the side of overdressing rather than underdressing.

I just want to make sure that our style of dress won't keep us from doing that! And yes Norm, we will relish the opportunity to dress up because it will be so different from our everyday lifestyle.

If you conform to the line's published dress standards, you'll have no problem.

We were also thinking of the horseback ride on the beach in Jamaica...anyone ever tried that one?

I'm not exactly an equestrian, so I won't pretend to advise you on that excursion. I can tell you from personal experience that Dunn's River Falls is a great experience for folks of all ages who are moderately active, though!

Norm.
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Old September 27th, 2006, 04:44 PM
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My husband and I went aboard Century in 2004 for Eastern Car. Bruce wore his dark suit twice and I wore a classy little black dress twice. All other times he was in polo shirts and I wore casual short skirts or sundresses that are also great for shopping, touring etc. We like to pack light and although there were others who arrived on formal nights in tuxs, they were few. There were those in really casual stuff like sweatpants! too but it detracted from the ambience of the night with all the care and preparation that goes into making the evening special. Have a great time.
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Old September 27th, 2006, 06:40 PM
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They let them in the dining room in sweat pants on the formal nights?Have noticed that on informal nights they will let them wear almost anything and this needs to also be addressed along with the formal nites if there is to be a dress code.
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Old September 27th, 2006, 07:36 PM
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Marlietta,
Don't worry to much about the dress on formal night. In 1998 on my Zenith Panama Canal trip, at the Captains table (in the olden days before specialty dining the captain sat in the dining Room) one of the guest wore a red sport jacket and things were much formal then today. You must be on the same sailing as me see you onboard.

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Old October 22nd, 2006, 02:20 PM
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Hello!
This is actually Mr. Bear, so don't let the post I.D. confuse you.

On the "Cruise of the Century," which my wife and I are lucky enough to be going on, one thing I wasn't sure about was whether the Formal Night was a special night like New Years, or something.
Is Formal Night on that cruise also New Years Eve?
As one who views Dressing Up on a fun scale similar to mopping up messes in nursing homes (and I have done both, so I do have a point of comparison) I want to make sure that if I'm going to dress up I have a definite reason to do so.

I'm still looking forward to the cruise, even if I am forced to don a suit for a meal.

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Old October 22nd, 2006, 05:58 PM
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Is Formal Night on that cruise also New Years Eve?
With no real confirmation from Celeb. I'd say there's very little doubt New Year's Eve will be formal night. It's the "traditional" first full day out, and it's New Year's Eve, so a very good assumption I think.[/quote]
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Old October 22nd, 2006, 10:13 PM
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Save the khakis for the casual nights wioth a golf shirt. Informal ios reallyt like semi formal...--still a little black dress or pantsuit--I have so many combos of black pants tops etc...formal night also can do black party pants palazos--husb in dark suit-- actually we have such a great collection of photos from formal nights we actually don;t mind dressiing up as much anymore... You will enjoy the ship--
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Old October 25th, 2006, 11:56 AM
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Hi!
MMy other half and I will be on your cruise, and we are both in our 30's and also pretty young at heart. I've had a great time on every cruise so far, and Celebrity has been one of my favorites. I think that because of the time and destination, there will be a great mix of people on-board. I have been reading and posting on another message board, and have found a number of cool people who will be with us. You guys are going to have an amazing time (as long as you decide to focus on the positive aspects and roll with the swells that may come up.) I am really curious to see what the Century looks like now that it has been refurbished.

See you on Board!

Fred
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Old October 26th, 2006, 11:31 AM
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sweatpants are not appropriate in the dining room for dinner--unless you lost your bags & have had NO chance to replace your clothes or it is the first night & your plane arrived late etc..... but other than that --the above posts hit the mark & you should have a great time! maybe try for an inclusive resort in Jamaica--
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Old November 4th, 2006, 10:50 AM
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Thanks for all the great advice! We're really looking forward to this trip...counting down the last two weeks. We're not stressing the dress code at this point....we'll just bring a little of everything and decide how we feel when we get there.

"As one who views Dressing Up on a fun scale similar to mopping up messes in nursing homes (and I have done both, so I do have a point of comparison) I want to make sure that if I'm going to dress up I have a definite reason to do so.

I'm still looking forward to the cruise, even if I am forced to don a suit for a meal."

My boyfriend could have written this lol.
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