Pacific Coastal Wine Cruise - MV Celebrity Century
I just returned home from the "Pacific Coastal Wine Cruise" from San Diego to Vancouver aboard MV Celebrity Century. The ports of call were
>> San Francisco, CA (2 days with overnight stay),
>> Astoria, OR,
>> Nanaimo, BC, and
>> Victoria, BC.
Each of the ports of call offered shore excursions related to wine -- visits to wineries and wine cellars for tastings, the Napa Valley Wine Train, etc. -- and other culinary tours in addition to sightseeing activities. Like most "repositioning" cruises, this cruise offers some unusual destinations that seasoned cruisers might want to consider -- and there were a LOT of seasoned cruisers on this sailing, including nearly 800 members of the Captain's Club and over 200 "Elite" members thereof (so many they used the ship's Crystal Room rather than Michael's Club for the "Elite Lounge"). There were also separate Captain's Club receptions for first seating and for second seating to accommodate the large number of members. Also, many of the non-members had cruised, in some cases quite extensively, on other lines. The reverse itinerary in the fall is slightly different, but equally interesting.
I'm not sure why, but the dress for the "formal" evenings on this cruise was very different from the dress on any of my previous Celebrity cruises. This time around, I saw a LOT of gents in suits and very few gents in "black tie" (tuxedo or dinner jacket outfit). Nonetheless, I saw very few who failed to conform to the published standards of dress.
I generally found MV Celebrity Century to be in very good condition, though I was less than impressed by the modern basins and fawcets that had been retrofitted into the heads of the standard cabins. I found that water flowing from the tap was too close to the edge of the basin, and thus had a propensity to splash onto the counter whenever one put anything such as a hand or a washcloth into it.
The weather was a bit chillier than I expected -- temperatures in the mid-50's in San Diego on the 14th of May -- so I really missed the magrodome pool of the Celebrity Millennium class. Other than that, the ship seems to offer all of the features and amenities that one finds on the newer vessels.
Overall, it was a wonderful cruise.
I capped off this cruise with a rail tour from Vancouver to Calgary on the Rocky Mountaineer. The train travels only in daylight so passengers can enjoy the spectacular, and constantly changing, scenery along the right of way. The rail tour package included hotel accommodations in Vancouver, Kamloops, and Calgary, meals on the train, and the respective transfers, and there's also an optional dinner-show in Kamloops (highly recommended, as restaurants and a drug store are about all that's open when the train arrives). I chose "Red Leaf" service, and was pleasantly surprised to receive an "executive" room at the (quite upscale) Holiday Inn in Vancouver and a two bedroom suite at the (even more upscale) International Hotel in Calgary; "Gold Leaf" passengers instead stay at Fairmont properties. I was very favorably impressed by the Rocky Mountaineer operation!
I'm glad to hear the Century has aged well. I sailed on her in 1997 in a Century Suite. Loved the butler service. I recall being very surprised to see an escalator at sea!
Celebrity Constellation (Penthouse booked for 2014)
Princess Grand Princess (2012) Vista Suite
Princess Crown Princess (2011) mini-suite
Princess Emerald Princess (2010) min-suite
Carnival Conquest (2008)
Princess Grand Princess (2003)
Carnival Victory (2002)
Celebrity Century (1997) Century Suite
Carnival Fantasy (1997)
Carnival Ecstasy (1994) Grand Suite
NCL Sunward (1992) Marquee Suite
RCI Nordic Empress (1990)
RCI Song of America (1988)