Our Alaska cruise
on the
Celebrity CENTURY


Click for a larger picture

September 9 to September 16, 2012
built 1995, refurbished 2006
815 ft., guests 1814

booked through Vacations to Go

Other cruises we've taken

DayPortArriveDepart
Sun Sep 9Vancouver4:30 pm
Mon Sep 10cruising inside passage
Tue Sep 11Icy Strait Pt3:00 pm10:00 pm
Wed Sep 12Hubbard Glacier10:30 am2:30 pm
Thu Sep 13Juneau7:30 am8:00 pm
Fri Sep 14Ketchikan2:00 pm8:30 pm
Mon Sep 15 cruising inside passage
Sun Sep 16Vancouver7:00 am

Deck Plans   Dining   State Rooms
Current location   Inside Passage (map)
Hubbard Glacier youtube video


Cruise Critic
Icy Strait Point     Juneau     Ketchikan     Vancouver

Photos:
Vancouver  Icy Strait Point  Hubbard Glacier  Juneau  Ketchikan

Weather:
Vancouver  Icy Strait Point  Juneau  Ketchikan

Preamble:
Once upon a time, long long ago and far far away, Heidi and I took an Alaska-Yukon tour which involved flying from Vancouver to Anchorage, flitting about Alaska and the Yukon in buses, trains and boats ... then a 4-day cruise back to Vancouver. That tour is described here.
Back in year 2000 we sailed on an older Westerdam ... not the one Holland America now runs. In fact, HAL has had several ships called "MS Westerdam".
The first was sunk three times during WWII while being constructed ... before making its maiden voyage! Eventually (1965) she was sold for scrap. This cruise is NOT on the MS Westerdam.
It's for enjoyment of the inside passage and the Hubbard Glacier.
P.S. Since we expect daytime highs of 10 C (50 F) we forgot about cabins with balconies.
Glacier calving

       
Scenes from an earlier Alaska-Yukon "Tour"


Sunday, September 9, 2012: Vancouver
It's a five hour flight from Toronto to Vancouver during which we play games on our tablets.
We take a taxi to the Canada Place pier (30 minutes @ $60, robbery !!) and wait an hour until we can board, at 11 am.
Then (of course!) we head straight for the Islands Cafe buffet and get us some coffee, soup, salad etc.
(Soups on cruise ships is awesome ... usually!)

Our room was ready by 1:30. As you might expect (!), we were exhausted (having crawled out of bed at 3 am the catch the plane) so (as you might expect) I headed off to bed and (as you might expect) Heidi wandered about to see what this ship looked like.   "It's so small!" she said ... but we like small.

It's a mite chilly and later, when we head to the outside deck for a Bahama Mama (for me) and a Bud Lite (for Heidi), we put on coats!
I also stop at the AquaSpa cafe for another soup: It was spicy and it was cold.

We reserve a place for dinner at 5:30 in the Grand Restaurant, sitting with a Saskatchewan couple. It was their first cruise and they were pretty excited. We learn the names and characteristics of all their children and grandchildren and what tools the husband has in his barn.
I have a cream of wild mushroom soup and ... uh ... can't remember.
Heidi has the world's largest breaded pork chop. All four of us share it.

The evening show, at 7 pm, was dancing and singing. Heidi is enthralled. I fall asleep.


Heidi plays solitaire


Monday, September 10, 2012: at Sea
It's a foggy day.

At 7 am we head to the buffet. I pass counters labelled American Breakfast and English Breakfast.
Hmmm ... looks familiar. Scrambled eggs, baked beans, potatoes, sausages ...
I walk to the far end of the buffet to the more interesting-sounding Asian Breakfast.
Scrambled eggs, baked beans, potatoes, sausages ...

After breakfast, some reading and a walk-around. It's still pretty chilly on deck, but Heidi walks her mile.
Me? I spend most of the morning in the exercise room. I relax.

We like our cabin. In fact, the window is better than a (chilly) balcony.


My "Asian" breakfast of scrambled eggs
baked beans, potatoes and pork sausage.

This was our third Celebrity cruise, so we're invited to the Captain's Club celebration: we meet the officers, munch on sushi, sip champagne and watch a floor show.
When we shook hands with the Master of the Vessel, Heidi said: "I understand that you were born in Crete and we were there twenty-seven years ago."
The Captain's eyes lit up. He said he may not have been born that long ago , that he'd been back to Crete in June and would return for a month in November.

Tonight is a formal night.
I was having a wee problem with my back, so Heidi had dinner by herself while I rested. At 8:30 she went to the song&dance theatre show. I rested again.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012: Icy Strait Point
At breakfast, we see our first snow-covered mountains.
Yesterday, the Captain announced (over the ship PA system) that there had been whales frolicking near the chip.
Alas, he said that after the whales had left!     We're hoping to see some today.

The Captain's Club is invited to a backstage tour. We listen to showgirls describe the life of a cruise dance group, Heidi pretends to give a stage performance ... then we have lunch in a crowded restaurant.

It's been overcast, but quite pleasant and no rain ... and no more whales.


Snowy mountains for breakfast

We arrive at Icy Strait Point and take a tender to the tiny village. Dozens of small shops, fast food and quaintness. (Is that a word?)
There's a one mile zip line - the worlds longest (they say). The cost of the zipline ride and most other excursions is $astronomical.

The Tlinget indians (who run the shops) live a mile away in Hoonah village. There's an $8 bus ride that'll take you there.
Since they also have shops for those that visit their village, I wonder why the bus ride isn't free.

The Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas sets sail in the late afternoon. We leave after dark.

Having gorged ourselves myself during the day, I limit my dinner to (tasteless) Miso soup, salad and one, small taco.
I'm proud of my self control. I expect to lose several pounds on the cruise.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012: Hubbard Glacier
We get to Hubbard Glacier by 10:30 am ... and it's foggy %@#!&? We sit in the Hemi Sphere observation lounge, but the windows is fogged up $^#!@?* Outside, it's raining %@#$!*
The decks are lined with people, standing in the rain ... cursing. The Captain announces that the view is magnificent (?) and he'll rotate the ship 360 degrees. I weep.


Soon, the ship is back to sea, heading South to Juneau, the capitol of Alaska ... and the sun comes out (!) ... and I wipe away the tears.

The rest of the day? Heidi walks a mile, I relax, we search and search (in vain) for soup* at the lunch buffet, Heidi plays the slots at the Casino, I relax.
At 7 pm, after a buffet dinner, we head to the theatre for a wunnerful song and danzzzzzz

*
    If I run across the Master Chef I'm gonna complain about the soup situation.
    If'n we're lucky, there's Canadian Pea by the pool and a tasteless Miso at the far end of the buffet. That's it.
    If'n we ain't lucky, there ain't nothin'.
    Most days we ain't lucky.


Thursday, September 13, 2012: Juneau
A rainy day in Juneau. We head ashore, it's drizzling and we duck into the multitude of shops by the pier.  
Heidi buys some souvenirs and asks a gal why there are so many "nesting dolls".
"We have a large Russian contingent in Juneau," she says.

Heidi buys a multi-doll set

Tonight is a formal night, with Lobster for Heidi and Beef Wellington for me.
The lobster is overcooked, the beef has a soggy wrapping and the asparagus is brittle.
However, the evening entertainment is great: a comedian/singer/impersonator/pianist. I'm awake for the whole show!

All dressed up, eh?

I offer this ditty
as a reminder of
all things Juneau:

The wind doth blow
In ol' Juneau
Beside the angry sea.

The rain doth flow
In ol' Juneau
It rains on you and me.

It's sad to know
In ol' Juneau
Excursions lack the glee.

Yet ziplines go
In ol' Juneau
As far as we can see.

And wind doth blow
In ol' Juneau
Beside the angry sea.


Friday, September 14, 2012: Ketchikan
Heidi walks a mile in a slight drizzle, then the sun makes a rare appearance, some guests speak of whale sightings
... and I sit in the Hemisphere Observation Lounge - waiting for whales. No luck.

For lunch we head to the Grand restaurant for just a bowl of soup. We're told it's only open for brunch, on the lower level.
We discover an elaborate array of foods and have difficulty limiting ourselves to soup. Well, if truth be told, we pigged out.

We go ashore and wander delightful Ketchikan on a beautiful sunny day. Apparently, salmon are running by Creek Street.
We didn't see none, but Heidi bought some tins of salmon.

After such a gargantuan lunch we decide to eat late, so Heidi heads off to a song and danzzz, I work on my diary and we eat at 8 pm.
The meal is great: chicken something for Heidi and deelishus, tender, tasty short ribs for me.


Brunch !!


Saturday, September 15, 2012: at Sea
Finally, as we head home, the sun comes out ... chuckling. It's a relaxing day at sea and that means relaxing and, of course, eating, eating, eating ...


Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner
We watch a cooking competition and the crew take bows in the Celebrity Theatre.
We still haven't spent our OBC, so Heidi buys a couple of nice "Alaska" blouses.

The best place to relax? The hemi-sphere - with a panoramic view. We actually saw whales and dolphins.

After lunch, the sun brings out the poolside crowd ... and an ice-carving demo:


Hemi-sphere Lounge


Sunday, September 16, 2012: back in Vancouver
Since we have a morning plane to catch, we "sign up" for early disembarking: 7:30 am.
Everybody warns us: "You gotta carry your own luggage!" No problemo.

We're up at the crack o' dawn, disembark, taxi to the airport ($35) and get home in the evening - after picking up Sandy at the sitter.

It was a relaxing cruise, but (as usual!) we're glad to be home. No dinner. We're filled with cruise food, sufficient to hibernate until our next cruise.


Sandy


Comments & Observations
  • Alaska seems to be a popular destination. (When we were browsing the possible Alaska cruises, many were completely booked by sailing time, including this one.)
    I'm not sure why it's so popular: it's more expensive than Caribbean cruises, the weather ain't tropical and the villages (Icy Strait, Juneau, Ketchikan) ain't that exciting.
  • The Celebrity Century is a nice, small ship: about 1800 guests - and we like small. (NCL's Epic has over 4000 and the RCB Oasis has over 5000.)
  • The buffet was nicely laid out, sufficient seating and no huge lines. (On the Carnival Freedom we often waited 20 minutes to get to the head of the line.)
  • The food was just okay ... but I was disappointed that there wasn't a "soup station" as on many other ships.
  • Excellent burger BBQ and fries were served in the (chilly, rainy) outside pool area ... but that station closed at 6 pm !!??
  • The Friday brunch was fabulous. (I had three plates full, but a Portuguese fella at our table had five!)
  • I wasn't impressed with the stage shows - but that's just a personal characteristic. Heidi loves song and dance ... and she got her fill.
    I think there was only one "guest" performer, the comedian/impersonator. The other shows were "onboard" entertainers.
  • In the (recent) past we noticed a lot of Kindles. Now, we notice a lot of tablet PCs.
    It's neat: we read our tablets (in living colour instead of grey) then play a game then take a picture then back to reading.
  • One curious (nasty?) thing that Celebrity did was charge us the $11.50/day/passenger (automatic "gratuity") at the time of booking - months before the cruise began.
    So our On Board Credit couldn't be used to offset that expense. What to do with the $100 OBC? Well ... uh ... alcohol is one option.
    I'm partial to Bahama Mama's, a hankering left over from our caribbean cruises.
  • Though we usually book a balcony, this time we took an "oceanview". We spent very little time outside so that was a reasonable thing to do.
I have a confession to make. Remember that picture (Monday, above) of our "window"?
Well, it was so foggy outside that the photo really came out like this:

So I waited (and waited) for a nice day, took a picture of just the window
and did a cut, resize and paste* into the original to make it look like this:

I fooled ya, right?
   
* I always bring my laptop with me to write up a diary. (It has lots of neat graphic software to fiddle with pictures, make videos, add music, etc.) If'n I waited until I got home to do the diary, I'd have forgotten everything. (I do have a good memory - it jest don't last long.) The laptop/diary also gives me something to do while Heidi walks her mile and plays her slot machines ... and (of course!) it keeps me outta her hair - and banging on the keys provides the requisite daily exercise.