We are Jim and Sue, in our lower 50's, married about a year ago all kids grown and gone. Our cruising choices tend toward the ships that offer a more elegant experience rather than a casual style. For Caribbean cruises, we book for the ship and number of sea days, not for the ports.
This was our second cruise with Celebrity; the first was a 14-night cruise on Mercury. It was on this first cruise that we became acquainted with Captain Adamidis and his wife Joyce. I kept in contact with Joyce via email over the past months so when I found that they would be on this ship I was delighted. We also schedule our cruises around times that there will be few children onboard so the new adults-only concept sounded good. We had never been on a ship as large as Millennium and weren't sure we would like it. We loved it! She is by far the most beautiful ship we've ever sailed. I loved the art and the colors throughout the ship. This sailing was also the introductory sailing of Celebrity's new marketing strategy so I'll include afew comments on those as well.
We flew into Fort Lauderdale the day prior to sailing and stayed at the Renaissance. The hotel was very nice and the Jacuzzi tub in our Jr. Suite felt good after the plane flight. We had dinner at the hotel and then "kicked back" and relaxed until bedtime. The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel and at 11:30 took a taxi to the ship.
Monday - sail away from Fort Lauderdale
Check-in was a breeze; there was only one couple ahead of us in the line for Captains Club and Suites. We presented our documents and credit card and received an introductory letter and one explaining that we would not be stopping in Columbia. As we turned to go to the boarding area a lovely lady who introduced herself as Melanie Burger, the Social Hostess approached us and asked us to step aside as Joyce wanted to be called when we arrived. Soon Dru Pavlov, the Assistant Cruise Director, joined us. We had a nice chat about the ship and all the new things being introduced on this cruise. Within about 10 minutes Joyce came running down the escalator to greet us. As she escorted us onboard into the Grand Foyer, we were handed a glass of chilled champagne - one of the new changes being introduced and a really class touch. There were already a number of people in the Foyer as cabins would not be ready until 1:00. This is a big improvement over sitting in an uncomfortable! terminal waiting room, as we have done on several cruises. The Grand Foyer is a stunning public room, with the glowing staircase in the middle and many chairs grouped with tables for chatting. After we had looked around the room, Joyce checked with Nickos Batistatos, the Hotel Manager, and said that our Royal Suite was ready. Since I couldn't wait to see it she escorted us. As we took the midship glass elevators to the Penthouse deck I watched the other passengers; some loved the view of the sea and others hid their eyes.
Wow, is the only description I have for the room - the walls are wood paneled and the carpet and soft furniture are done in light neutral colors. Mirrors were used to make the 538 sq. ft suite look even bigger. It was certainly the most beautiful cabin we've ever had (and also the most expensive). The bathroom had a wonderful Jacuzzi tub with jets that massaged your back - I ended up soaking in the tub almost every day. It also had double sinks, a large shower with nice glass doors, several storage shelves and of course, the toilet. On the balcony (195 sq. ft.) outside the living room sliding doors were two padded teak lounge chairs and outside the sliding doors from the bedroom was another Jacuzzi tub and a table and chairs. We enjoyed our morning coffee each day at this table and spent many hours sitting on the balcony. We used the outside Jacuzzi a few times, mostly just as a way to cool off while we were sunning. It is rather small and shallow and not nearly as ni! ce as the one in the bathroom, but certainly a nice addition to the large balcony. The suite had plenty of storage cupboards and a small walk-in closet. I particularly enjoyed having a dressing table all to myself. I was glad I had my lighted makeup mirror, as the little area where it is located isn't too bright in the evenings. I had heard that the suite was very dark, but we found it to be well lighted and even wished that there were dimmer switches for the overhead lights as they were quite bright. There are two flat panel TV's, one in the bedroom and one in the living room. The living room also had a CD player.
We began unpacking as our bags arrived, located our lifejackets for the drill and read the daily program and other information in the cabin. Soon the 15-minute warning announcement for the safety-at-sea drill was made and we donned our lifejackets. I love to watch the expressions on the faces of first-time cruisers as they go through this necessary procedure. Immediately after the drill we went back to our cabin to pop the complementary bottle of champagne and watch the sail-away. I called a couple we had "met" on the Internet, Ray and Joann, and invited them to join us. As it turned out, they were absolutely delightful and we met with them several times during the trip. At 6:00 we went to dinner...always an interesting experience. Would we like our tablemates? Yes! Although we were at a table for six, only one other couple was seated there. They were a great British couple, Norman and Maria, so I knew we would have enjoyable dinners. Our table was on the main leve! l slightly to the left and in front of the Captain's table. The Metropolitan dining room is beautiful and not too crowded and we were able to hear the music played by the quartet on the upper level. The view out the large aft window makes a stunning setting. I loved the lighted blue stained glass ceiling - it gave the room a feeling of a skylight. The only drawback was that the chairs lacked armrests and I think chairs with them are more comfortable.
After dinner (casual attire) we went back to the suite and found our cabin tidied up, the bed turned down, the daily program and an Invitation to dine at the Captain's Table the following evening. To me, that is the biggest honor one can receive while sailing so I was thrilled and glad that we had already sent Jim's tux for pressing. We had a nightcap and "watched the water go by" until bedtime. This really is a life I could get used to!
Tuesday - Key West
We woke up about 7:00 (we're by nature early people) and called Lawry, our butler, for breakfast. After lounging around with coffee and rolls for a couple hours we decided it was time to go ashore. We walked to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville for a cheeseburger in paradise and a margarita even though it was only 10:30 in the morning. Then we slowly wandered our way back to the ship. After boarding we went to the conservatory flower shop to get a boutonnière for Jim. It is a great shop - it took me a while to realize that some of the arrangements were artificial flowers.
We had scheduled an "unofficial" Cruise Critic party for 2:30, a half hour after sailing. Over 50 people had joined the message board post so a few days before sailing Celebrity contacted me and said they would host the party. Forty-seven people attended the party, which was very nice - drinks and appetizers were provided by Celebrity and served by waiters. We met wonderful people, some of which we were able to invite to our suite for cocktails at other times during the trip. Joyce and Melanie both attended the party, as did two people from Celebrity headquarters and a couple of Officers. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. The party was in the Platinum Club, the champagne and martini bar areas. This is one of my favorite rooms on the ship; I loved the silver, grays and purple. The lighting effects in the ceiling change from day to night and the room takes on a whole different look. The center of the room is open to the Rendezvous Lounge underneath it so you can listen to! the music being played below.
After the party it was time to dress (formal attire) for the Captain's Welcome party and formal dinner at the Captain's Table. We had plenty of time because the Captain's table is at the late seating (we usually eat early). Jim's tux was hanging back in the room and I chose my new gown for that special night. We attended the Captain's Welcome party prior to dinner that was held in the Grand Foyer. With nearly 2000 people onboard, they have done away with the long reception lines to shake hands with the Captain and Officers and I found I liked the change. We met the rest of those invited to the Captain's Table in the Rendezvous in a special reserved area and then Melanie escorted us to the table. As I said earlier, this, to me, is the nicest honor you can receive. We were seated at the end of the table with Jim to Joyce's right and I was at the end of the table so we were able to visit with the Captain and her very easily. Although the wait staff in the dining room is! very good, the service at this table is excellent which just adds to the fun of being there. At the end of dinner, each woman was presented with a red rose as a gift from Captain Adamidis; mine lasted in a vase until the end of the cruise. We declined going to the show and returned to our cabin. Although we love the formal nights, it felt very good to shed the clothes and slip into bathrobes! A short nightcap on the balcony and we were off to bed.
Wednesday - sea day (stop at Cozumel canceled)
During the night we hit the remnants of Hurricane Isadore and it became a bit rough. Jim got up and moved to the couch during the night because the rock & roll was keeping him awake and making him feel a little queasy. He even took a Bonine. I'm lucky, the rocking just put me to sleep but the lightning flashes woke me several times - I sleep better on a ship than anywhere else.
Lawry delivered our coffee and rolls and as we sat outside Jim described the great lightning show I missed. Then he announced that he thought he'd go back to bed and try to get some sleep. I sat outside and watched the ship approach Cozumel. After three attempts to dock the Captain reversed course and made an announcement that the port would be canceled for the safety of the ship and passengers. A revised daily schedule was prepared with many added activities and delivered to the cabin very quickly. I only heard a couple passengers grumble about the missed port; most seemed very accepting and shared my attitude of "if you book a trip during hurricane season, you might get a hurricane [duh!]." It was fun to meet and talk to the people from the party as I wandered around the ship. Jim woke up early afternoon feeling much better and wanted to go to the buffet to eat. Even only choosing a few items, we ate too much and ended up skipping dinner. The lunch, goodies with te! a and the appetizers brought by Lawry were more than enough!
Thursday - sea day
Lawry brought our coffee and rolls, which we took outside on the balcony and then soaked in the Jacuzzi. After dressing, we went to explore the ship. At the photo gallery, I picked up our boarding picture, browsed some of the shops - it is the nicest shopping area of any ship I've sailed. Mid-morning we went to a "fun and informative talk" given by Joyce and Edwin Rojas about her book If I Were Not Upon The Sea. The book is a great read and to hear her tell the stories is even better. I really recommend it for anyone that is curious about the life of cruise ship staff. It's for sale on Millennium - I don't know about other ships.
We went to the Ocean Buffet for lunch. The food was quite good for a buffet and there were a good variety of items from which to choose but the best was the cinnamon ice cream for dessert. We spent a couple hours on the balcony sunning and reading - which for us means a few minutes in the sun - a quick dip in the Jacuzzi to cool off and a few minutes sitting in the shade and then a repeat - we probably look like we are playing musical chairs.
That night we had dinner reservations in the Olympic to celebrate Ray and Joann's 49th anniversary. Joyce joined us for dinner and Ray presented each of the women with a long stemmed rose. I added it to the vase in the cabin with the rose from the Captain. The Olympic is well worth the surcharge (or gratuity as Celebrity prefers to call it). We spent some time looking at the pictures and items from the original ship that are on display in the entry. We ate in the larger white dining room; it's very spacious, elegant and quiet. At first reading the menu seems a little skimpy as you can only choose soup or salad but the food is so rich and filling that we absolutely waddled out. Everyone at the table had either the Steak Dianne or Shrimp Scampi; both cooked tableside. The desserts are to die for; the favorite seems to be a chocolate mousse but I had the Waldorf pudding and it was exceptional! I should note here that the attire for the evening was casual but for the Oly! mpic it is always informal to formal so we dressed up.
Friday - Costa Rica We awoke to find the ship just heading into port and had our coffee watching from the balcony. As we've visited this port before, we didn't leave the ship at all. I thought this would be a good day to check out the spa and the Thalassotherapy pool. It always takes a bit of convincing to get Jim to go with me, but he grinned and agreed. The pool was nearly empty so we soaked on the bubble lounger a bit and then in the Jacuzzi, but all in all, the T-pool on the Mercury was much better. On Millennium, the pool is larger but there were few massaging jets and the waterfall spouts didn't have enough force to really massage your neck and shoulders. The spa area is beautiful and we were able to see into several of the treatment rooms - they looked very nice.. I can see where this would be a very popular area during bad weather or trips to cooler climates and it is restricted to adults only on all sailings.
We decided that this would be a nice day to do a "sail-away" cocktail party in the suite, so we filled out invitations that I'd made on the computer at home prior to leaving and delivered them to the various cabins around the ship. The butler will do this for you, but we found it a way to see other areas we had yet to explore. We ended up sitting under an umbrella in the café on the 10th deck aft having a nice cool pina colada. Then back to the cabin to prepare for the party. I called Lawry and asked him for extra appetizers, ice and another champagne bucket. He set everything up beautifully and even checked in several times during the party to make sure we had everything we needed. Everyone we invited came - 4 couples and us; it was a casual attire evening so everyone was relaxed and seemed to have a good time. We were too full of champagne and appetizers to go to dinner, so we skipped it.
Saturday - Panama We were drinking our coffee as the ship pulled into port. The terminal building and surrounding area were perhaps the nicest of any we've seen; it appeared that everything had a fresh coat of paint - bright yellow and blue, very tropical. Since we waited too long to make a decision on the Train excursion and missed booking it, we got off the ship and browsed the many sellers of local handicrafts and then watched a folk dancing exhibition. The weather was beautiful so we wandered around the dock area a little and took some pictures of the exterior of the ship - She's really impressive looking all the way from the bow to the stern.
We spent the rest of the day relaxing and reading. It sounds like we're really boring people when I read what I've written, but we both have rather high stress jobs and work long hours so for us this is heaven!
We made it to dinner (informal attire) that night and had a great dinner and wonderful conversation with Norman and Maria.
Sunday - at sea
by now you've figured out our morning routine, coffee and rolls on the balcony followed by the soak in the Jacuzzi. Joyce invited me to have lunch in their quarters so I could have a chance to spend a little time with their son Haris. This was a difficult trip for him because he was restricted to the Captain's and crew areas due to the adults-only sailing. He is 5 and usually spends afternoons at the Fun Factory with the other kids. Their cabin is very nice and very large - as is befitting the Master of the ship. It also doubles as the Captain's office so there is an attached conference room.
For this Adults-Only Escape Cruise Celebrity designated this as Valentine's Day to add a little love and romance to the trip. I'm not sure if there were any special activities, but given that I'd packed a red gown, I wore it for dinner (formal attire).
Monday - Aruba
Aruba is one of our favorite ports so after our coffee and the usual routine we headed off the ship. This also allowed for the early rush of people to already be gone. Our first stop (well, not quite first as I had to look in all the jewelry stores we passed) was Iguana Joe's for Jim to have his Banana byebye - a drink he says is the best ever; so good, he had another. To me it tastes like a banana daiquiri but he insists that it is much better. I had a pina colada and we shared a huge plate of nachos and then browsed around - mostly jewelry shops. Although I didn't buy anything this trip, Jim got a nice watch.
We decided it would be a good day to have the full dinner service in the suite and called Lawry for the dinner menu. He came back later to take our order and ask the time for delivery - 6:30. He set our dining table with a linen cloth and all the silver and glassware and promptly at 6:30 he arrived with appetizers and breads, shortly after that he brought the soup and salads. He is magic because just as we finished those, he came back with our entrees and dessert followed. This is one of the things Celebrity does better (for suites) than any other line we've sailed - the others just deliver your entire order and drop it off. If you get the chance, I recommend that you have dinner one night in your suite.
Tuesday - at sea
Well, we're finally relaxed and really enjoying our little home and routine and we realized we were in the home stretch - aaack, not ready for it to be over! I intended to go to Origami and the ice carving demonstration, but we were too busy relaxing and I missed both of them. I did run into Joann and Ray while looking at the photo gallery and we had a drink in Michaels Piano Bar. Michaels, as the cigar bar was one of our favorite places and I was glad to see that they hadn't changed the décor at all. It reminds me of a Gentlemen's Smoking Room on the old liners - I'm sure this is the feeling they were originally going for. There are now three smoking tables; the rest of the bar is non-smoking. It seems that there just wasn't enough use as a cigar bar to make it a viable business option.
During the day the Captain made an announcement that Hurricane Lilli had just passed over the Caymans and that the tenders would not be able to run the next day so we would be at sea and go to Nassau in the Bahamas the following day. Another change that didn't bother us at all - in fact, since we had never been to Nassau, we welcomed it.
We decided this would be a good day for another cocktail party so we did the invites and delivered them. The attire for the evening was informal so we were more dressed up than for the first one. I thought we all looked quite elegant in the beautiful setting of the Royal Suite. Again Lawry provided everything we needed and again we skipped dinner. I've got to figure out how to eat more on these trips - we miss out on an awfully lot of good food!
Wednesday - at sea (Grand Cayman canceled)
This morning while drinking coffee, I commented that I sure could use a massage and Jim said, "Call and book one". It only took me about a minute to reach the phone and have one booked for 10:30 in the suite. That meant he had to go to the disembarkation talk when I had already agreed I'd attend. He took it with little grumbling and off he went. Tracie, the masseuse, and an assistant arrived and set up the massage table and I lay down for an hour of pampering. Jim came back at about 11:00 and went out to sit on the balcony so as not to disturb us. A few minutes later the Captain announced that there were whales to port so I jumped off the table, wrapped the purple towel around me and ran out to tell Jim. Well, everyone on our side of the ship were also out on their balconies to see the whales and I realized that they could see me wrapped in the little purple towel. I was hoping everyone was looking out to sea, but several people commented to me later that they had se! en me in the towel. (Blush!)
The Captains Club cocktail party took place in Cosmos before early dinner and was well attended. For this party there was a reception line and we had the opportunity to thank Captain Adamidis for a great trip. We also saw several of our new friends from Cruise Critics. We found Ray and Joann and sat with them. The Captain made a very nice speech about the new enhancements to Celebrity sailings and explaining why the changes in our itinerary were necessary.
Dinner was exceptional that night and ended with the introduction of the dining room and galley staff and the Baked Alaska Parade.
Before bed we stopped in the Rendezvous and listened to the Flagship Orchestra playing Big Band music - very enjoyable.if only Jim would dance. The dance floor was very busy that night and some of the dancers were very good. I watched the Gentleman Hosts on this trip and want to comment that I thought they were much better than those on our last few trips. These two gentlemen danced almost every dance and seemed to be making sure that any of the unaccompanied ladies had a partner.
Thursday - Bahamas (substituted for Grand Cayman)
We were anxious to see Nassau because we had never been to it before and the port area looked very nice. We actually hurried a bit through our breakfast and went into town. It is a great place to browse - I love the jewelry stores although they are the same in most of the ports. We both bought tee shirts and Jim got a shot glass for his collection so we didn't break the bank here either. We ended up in a nice little café for a drink and a conch salad; then it was back to the ship. The iced towels handed out when you reboarded really felt good (another of the new enhancements).
It was time for the much-dreaded repacking. It's not as difficult as packing because there is no choosing what to take or carefully folding to avoid wrinkles, but I hate it anyway. We got most of it done and realized it was almost time to sail. A quick call to our friends Ray and Joann, and the couple next door, Chuck and Kathy, and we had one last sail away party with the last of the champagne.
We went down to the dining room to say good-bye to Norman and Maria and to give our waiters their envelopes, but didn't stay for dinner. After leaving the Metropolitan, we wandered around the ship. We picked up one more picture from the photo gallery and I fed my usual $10 into the slot machine. Jim joked that this time it took less than 60 seconds for me to loose it. The casino is large and highly decorated with mirrors and statues, much like Las Vegas casinos. I like it, but heard others say they thought it was gaudy. The traffic patterns on that deck force you to walk through the casino to get from one end of the ship to the other and they have designed the casino where you have to zigzag through the machines and tables to get through it - a good marketing tactic, I'm sure! On the formal nights the casino was full of people and looked very elegant.
Friday - Fort Lauderdale (or the fat lady sings) We ordered our usual breakfast and dressed (yes, we remembered to save clothes to wear) while we were eating it. Then we just sat on the balcony until we were called and talked about all the special things that had happened for us on this trip and the great people we'd met. Our moods seemed to alternate between very happy and sad that it was ending.
Disembarkation was the easiest ever. Passengers were allowed to stay in their cabins until their color tag was called. This is much better than everyone crowding into public areas and tripping over the carry-on luggage. We had white tags and were the first group called. Customs and Immigration were cleared quickly and we didn't have too much trouble locating our luggage in the "happy hunting grounds." A porter assisted us to a taxi and we were off to the airport.
We had booked a late flight because our last experience getting out of Fort Lauderdale airport wasn't good but were able to get on an 11:45 flight. I called the limo company in Denver to advise them of the change and they met us on time. So now we're home.stacks of laundry, mow the lawn, clean the house and off to work on Monday. We were lucky because we had Saturday and Sunday to get caught up.
Summary and thank you's
First, I'd like to say that everyone's cruise experience is different - it's what you make of it. We enjoy the relaxation, pampering, elegance and "watching the sea go by" so we always book the best cabin we can afford because we spend a lot of time in it. Some friends that cruise often are the opposite - they don't want to dress up and they do excursions at every port so they book less expensive cabins because they don't spend any time in them (they also book another line where they don't have to dress up). It pays to compare what the different cruiselines offer before you book and to deal with a knowledgeable travel agent.
I'm sure I forgot to mention things during this review such as High Tea in the Olympic, which was delightful. I had intended to do a day-by-day diary on the computer in the suite, but that never happened so this was done at home. I did use the computer for email.
We had so many special treats on this trip starting with Roswita Arnet, Director of Total Guest Satisfaction, who contacted me prior to sailing and offered to have Celebrity host our Cruise Critic party. She contacted me the first day onboard and we met in Cova Café to make sure all the details were worked out. Then later in the trip a huge bouquet from her was delivered to the suite. Along the same line I should thank Bob Kesler, Vice President of Total Guest Satisfaction, who was onboard and came to the CC party. He was very interested in getting our input on the new enhancements - and delightful to talk with. Nickos Batistatos, Hotel Manager, and George Traiganis, Office Supervisor Hotel Manager, also attended the party and visited with the guests.. All of these people really went out of their way to give us a good time.
Thanks and congratulations also need to go to Celebrity CEO, Richard Fain, Jack Williams, and Dietmar Wertanzl for taking steps to keep Celebrity a step above the other cruiselines.
Captain Adamidis (and all the bridge staff) did a magnificent job of keeping us in good weather and calm seas while avoiding two hurricanes and he is absolutely charming to talk with. [Oops, ended with a preposition]
How do you possibly thank everyone? A few more special thanks: Melanie, Social Hostess, Edwin, Cruise Director, and Lawry, our Butler deserve special note, but everyone on the ship deserves to be mentioned.
The biggest thank you goes to Joyce Adamidis, whom I'm proud to call my friend, with her sparkling personality and never ending energy she made this trip perfect for us.
Now the great people we met onboard - mostly due to the Cruise Critic message board and party: Ray and Joann - thank you for the orchid arrangement and your company many times during the trip. Josie - thank you for the embroidered guest towel. Don, Florence & Edith. Nancy and Frank, Tina & Javiar, Jerry & Denice, Mike & Maria, Chuck & Kathy and many others - I hope you'll forgive me for not remembering all the names.
I'm already looking for our next cruise - perhaps the Mediterranean next summer on the Millennium. Right now, that seems a long way off - so I might find something before then that we just can't resist.
We returned last week from the 11 day Millennium cruise and it was fabulous! Hope this will help those of you who are going on the Millie in the near future:
EMBARKATION: We registered on-line with the paperless embarkation and it was a breeze. We arrived at the port around 10:40a.m. and were the second ones on the ship by 11:20a.m. (and we did not belong to the Captain's Club, as this was our first Celebrity cruise). Even the guy at the terminal checking us in said how nice it was that we were already in the system. People who got there too early sat and waited for a long time, but we whisked in and out.
THE CABIN: We were in room 2129, which is an outside cabin with a king size bed, 2 uppers and a pull out couch. It was comfortable for all 4 of us (my spouse and 2 kids ages 8 & 4). There was enough drawer and closet space, which was a worry we had, but bring extra hangers. This room was the perfect location at the center of the ship, very quiet, yet closeto the main elevators. No noise from above or below, just the occasional flushing of a toilet from next door. We were able to drop off items in the room right away and all but one piece of luggage was in the room by 3p.m. Other passengers waited much longer for their luggage. Our cabin steward was not so great, we had to ask for shore excursion towels each day, as he only would leave 2, not 4. Occasionally he did not leave enough regular towels, or left the kleenex empty, or took several days and requests to empty the refrigerator, etc. The assistant to him, however, was great.
DINING ROOM: We had the main seating, which was fine for us, but the majority of the passengers requested the late seating, which was full. The main seating had some empty tables, and ours was only half full. The waiter said the late seating was crazy with so many people crammed in there, we were glad to have the early seating. Overall the food was very good. Our waiter and assistant waiter were excellent, as were other waiters we experienced there. The kids were happy to get their request for shrimp cocktail every meal. Unlike other ships we have been on, the kids menu also changed each night, which was a pleasant surprise. One night my youngest daughter was sleeping, so we placed her order and the waiter prepared it to go so she had it when she awakened. That was very nice.
KEY WEST: We toured on our own in Key West, as we live in South Florida and can see the Keys whenever we want. We walked around the various shops, and to the Hemingway house (I'm a big cat lover and was already missing my 7 cats back home).
THE SHOWS: We were very impressed with all of the shows they performed. We saw all but one, and had no complaints. We were surprised at the beginning of the cruise the shows did not pack the house, but towards the end of the cruise it was hard to find a seat. The Celebrity Theater is very comfortable and no bad seat in the house. People were pretty good about not saving a million seats (in the theater that is; the pool, that's another story).
THE POOL: Speaking of the pool, if you did not have a chair reserved with your personal items on it by 8:30a.m., you were outta luck! There was not a soul on deck, but by golly every lounge chair was taken. We just made sure on sea days we were up bright and early (at least my husband was) to secure 2 chairs. We weren't greedy and saving for the kids, as the majority of the time they were in the Fun Factory. When they were at the pool, they were in it, not laying in the sun. Most people were nice about the chairs, but someone did lay in ours despite our personal items still on them. We politely, but firmly had them relocate. A few days we did not get a chair early, but we always managed to find some. The upper deck always had some available further back on deck, just couldn't hear the band. The band Onyx was fabulous!! They played several times a day at the pool, as well as the deck parties, in the disco and even the shows.
COZUMEL, MEXICO: Our ship arrived a little bit late, and we had to wait for a Carnival ship to clear customs first. This cut down on our tour time. We took the ships tour for Xcaret. It was very interesting, included swimming as well as touring some ruins, seeing animals, a little bit of everything. It has an underground river with caverns, etc. we were all able to float through- very exciting. We ate an authentic Mexican lunch at one of the restaurants there- yummy. Could have used a little more time there, but we had to rush back to catch the boat. There were at least 4 other cruise ships in port, so everything was packed.
COSTA RICA: The night before we arrived in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, we were notified our tour had been cancelled. (by the way, we booked our tours on-line ahead of time, were glad we did because the shore excursion deck was packed and tours sold out quickly). We were very upset, but it is the rainy season in Costa Rica and many roads were washed out and unsafe. Luckily the shore excursion desk helped us to arrange another tour on the Tortuguera Canal. When we arrived it was pouring down rain, and we weren't even sure we could get off the ship. Fortunately our tour was later in the morning. The people who went on the same tour earlier didn't see much of anything other than rain and plants. We, however, lucked out. The rain stopped as we left the ship and had a nice ride along the canal. We saw several sloths, a crocodile, some bats, some unusual birds (I forget the names, but they are definitely not ones you would see anywhere else), spider monkeys, white-faced capuchin monkeys, turtles, catfish, butterflies, and gorgeous plants and flowers. This tour included a nice buffet of fresh fruit. After the boat ride, our bus took us on a tour of the island (again, luck of the draw, people on other buses with different tour guides did not have this added extra). We were able to see part of the countryside and some banana and cocoa plantations.
PANAMA CANAL: Here we went on the 2 Ocean Railroad tour. It was a very nice and relaxing way to see this country and learn some of its history. We had a tour of the Miraflores Locks, but did not arrive in time to see a ship pass through the locks. They served a boxed lunch, which was not bad, (some people did not like it), but at this point in the trip you were used to eating alot, so any food would have been okay. The main shopping areas in Panama are closed on the weekend, so the only open area for shopping we saw was right by the ship. After the tour we were dropped off right by the shops. How convenient!
OLYMPIC RESTAURANT: The night we were in Panama is when we chose to eat in the Olympic. It was a casual night, but we didn't mind being a bit dressier. We chose this night because we knew we wouldn't be too exhausted from our excursion, and we booked it late enough (8:30p.m.) so we would have time to feed the kids and not be rushed. The atmosphere, waiters and food were fabulous. Well worth the extra $$. We were so stuffed by the time the chocolate souffle (excellent) and the sampler dessert (we each got something different) arrived, we were ready to explode! They had a strolling violinist, who stopped by our table when they had a surprise anniversary cake for us (our 12th anniversary), that was a nice touch. Had no room for this extra bit of dessert though! by the way, we had no trouble getting the exact date and time we wanted for this, because making the reservation was one of the first things we did when we got onboard. Some people were still making reservations for additional nights in the Olympic the night we ate there.
ARUBA: This was our favorite stop of the trip. We took the Sailaway Beach Cruise, which went on a relaxing, long catamaran ride to 2 different snorkeling sites. One included a sunken WWII ghost ship, which was interesting. The water was a little deep and rough for the kids to enjoy the snorkeling, but they loved the catamaran journey. We stopped at the beach for a private barbecue luncheon, then had some free time on the beach before reboarding the catamaran for the nice ride back to the ship. After snorkeling free rum or vodka punch was offered, and punch and soft drinks were always available. This tour took up most of our time in Aruba, but we still had enough time to do some shopping. Here you can bargain for a better deal on something, and most likely you will get your price, not their original price.
GRAND CAYMAN: Here we did the snorkeling, Stingray City and beach tour, which included everything. It was a bit rainy when we arrived, but after many clouds and one deluge of rain and thunder, it cleared up. Luckily this cooled it off somewhat so it wasn't stifling hot. The Stingray City was exciting, if you don't mind huge mushy things rubbing against you in the water. The kids were not too thrilled to be accosted by such big creatures, but they enjoyed watching them swim around them, as long as they didn't swim onto them. You could feed the stingrays, and some people, my husband included, even held them. I agreed with the kids and kept a comfortable distance. The snorkeling site was a huge reef. Some of the kids on the tour stayed on the boat, as the water was pretty deep. I took my older daughter and hand in hand we were able to explore this site. It was interesting and we saw some different fish and the coral, as well as stingrays further away. Like Mexico, however, this port was packed with other cruise ships. We spotted 5 other big ships, so everything was crowded. Luckily, we had an earlier start than the others so the stops were not too packed. The beach we went to was a resort on the 7 mile beach. It was nice because the tour included a nice lunch, drink (alcohol if you wanted), and lounge chair. They had fresh water showers available also. You could rent water sport vehicles (wave runners, etc.), but it was a little pricey. The water and beach were exquisite there. It was a nice leisurely day, and we still had enough time to do some shopping. No bartering for prices here, however, you pay the asking price period. Be sure to leave enough time to ferry back to the ship. One of the Carnival ships in port had to turn back because a few people missed the ship.
AQUASPA: The thalassotherapy pool was very relaxing and quiet. The security was pretty good at keeping children out, but it never ceased to amaze us when parents brought their children in with them anyway. We did not. The spa offered a lighter lunch, which we sampled and were satisfied with for a change of pace. They had a sauna as well, which was nice. Better to use the spa earlier in the cruise than towards the end, many people are sunburnt and peeling, and traces of that was evident in the spa pool (gross!). Yes, as posted by someone else, an ADULT put shampoo or some kind of soap in the whirlpool at the spa as well as one of the main pool whirlpools. This was totally inappropriate and inexcusable. The whirlpools had to be closed and drained, and hopefully nothing got ruined.
DRESS CODE: Day 1, casual; day 2 Key West, formal; day 3 Cozumel, casual; day 4, informal; day 5 Costa Rica, casual; day 6 Panama, informal; day 7, formal; day 8 Aruba, casual; day 9, informal; day 10 Grand Cayman, formal; day 11, casual. We dressed to the nines, including my girls, each formal night. We loved it! Other people, however, were not as compliant. One young girl (age 12-13) on formal nights trotted into the dining room in short shorts and some kind of hat on her head. How inappropriate! This same family rushed into dinner on average 40-50 minutes late every night. Overall, most people followed the rules. We did see an occasional pair of shorts or jeans at dinner time for casual night, and no one said anything (except for us, of course and several other people who were dressed appropriately). To each his own, but we enjoyed getting dressed up for dinner.
KIDS PROGRAM: My kids have been on other cruises, but they both thoroughly enjoyed Celebrity. I have to admit, I was a little anxious worrying if this ship could compare to the fun they have had on Carnival, which is well-known for it's children's program. Well my older daughter informed me that this ship was MUCH better than the other cruises she has been on before. Both girls looked forward to the activities and often did not want to leave. A nice plus was on the formal nights, not only did they have a pizza dinner party for the kids, but they offered free slumber party until 1a.m. On the other nights the scheduled activities ended at 10p.m. and you had to pay $6 per hour per child after that.
KIDS ON BOARD: Yes, there were many parents who let their kids wander aimlessly on the ship. However, overall, the kids were well behaved. I did not feel it was appropriate to have small children (under age 9) roaming the ship by themselves, but many people allowed this. We did not. One morning in the dining room we were seated for breakfast with an "elderly" crowd. We thought they were going to have a fit sitting with 2 small children. by the end of the breakfast, everyone at the table complimented us on how well behaved the girls were. So there! As I have said before, it depends on the parents - not all kids are obnoxious!!
DISEMBARKATION: This was the worst part of the trip. Not because the process was bad - but because the trip was over. Eleven days is NOT enough. Never again a 7 day! Leaving the ship was not as chaotic as I have read on other posts. Our colored tags were one of the last colors called off the ship, but we were in no rush to return to our ordinary life. The staff made sure people who had to catch planes, etc. were the first off the ship, then came the rest of us. We quickly found our luggage, and left the port without a hitch.
Well, I hope I covered the highlights. Please feel free to e-mail me with any specific questions.
I recently sailed on the Millennium and would love to pass some information on to my fellow travel agents.
The food was surprising very good and well prepared. Actually that might have been their strong point. The rooms were large enough and well planned. I particularly enjoyed the layout of the shower in the bathroom(lots of room to move around in).
I was most disapointed in their Shore Excursion Program. Maybe the worse I have ever had the misfortune of booking. They were not organized, over-priced and not worthy of dicussing. Otherwise, the dining room servers were very attentive and service was good. I never saw my cabin steward accept to collect his tip. He never did anything to make our cruise special.
The entertainment was acceptable ,but not great. They need to improve in this area. Carnival Cruises is better.
They eliminated the Captain shaking hands with his passengers,because they were too many to shake. I had several clients on this cruise and they were so disappointed, and this the usual routine. In fact, many of us never saw the Captain at all, he appeared briefly on the step way.
Celebrity Cruises hassuch beautiful ships they could do better.
We completed the April 21-29 cruise aboard the Millie and had a nice balcony room. Most of the good reviews that I have read are true about the Millie; however, the very best or excellent reviews must come from smokers. If you have allergies or are a non-smoker this is NOT the ship for you. This ship actually promotes smoking by actively selling cigars and cigarettes every day and having no clear non-smoking policy. These sales are in huge print in the daily newspaper each day and they have a cigar bar on board. All the public areas, with the only exceptions of the theatre and dining room, were full of smoke. It is also necessary to walk through several of them to get to the theatre or dinning room so smoke is unavoidable. I really wanted to try the Martini bar and that was impossible since it was always in a smoke cloud.
We could not even enjoy our balcony most evening since three rooms down someone smoked a cigar out on theirs and the smoke blew onto our balcony. Yes, I can hear you smokers saying that youhave rights and that is why I am writing this so the non-smokers will just choose another ship. The first day there was an announcement that all smokers were kindly asked to only smoke on the port side of the ship but it was not enforced so it did not work. Many people on board were unhappy about that but nothing was done.
Again, if you are a smoker this is a good ship. The entertainment was very good. We saw it all as it was our only refuge from the smoke each night.
This trip was our first cruise and a celebration for my 50th birthday. Cruising has always been a lifetime dream of mine, and I figured there was no better time to do it then NOW. We very much anticipated a wonderful week and you will see that Celebrity really does try to exceed your expectations.
We arrived at the pier at 11:30 am the day of the cruise after spending the night beforehand at the Sheraton Hotel at the Airport in Ft. Lauderdale. Got a fantastic price for the hotel room over Priceline. This hotel is very nice, however their restaurant is below par and very expensive, considering what you get. Take a taxi to the nearest mall/shopping area if you decide to stay here, and skip the restaurant on hotel property. The cost of car service to the pier was only $14 and our driver knew how to work around the traffic jam of cars heading to the pier and got us there in no time at all. I believe there are at least 3 ships departing on Sunday afternoon from the pier and everyone has to pass throughpier security, so traffic jams are inevitable. After checking our baggage and filling out forms, we proceeded to the gangway and entered the ship. We were surprised how easily the process went with no lines and no waiting. We were greeted with waiters carrying trays of champagne and after a toast proceeded to our stateroom, room number 9016 which was a balcony room in the forward section of the ship on the 9th deck (Sky Deck). We obtained a super duper wonderful price for this cruise through Travelocity and booked a Guaranteed Category (balcony room) and was given this great location on the ship. We spoke to other cruisers who also had balcony rooms on the 7th deck and they actually paid considerably more. by booking a Category Guarantee, the ship guarantees that you will get a balcony room or HIGHER. We were hoping to get bumped up to a suite, but no such luck. We didn't get an upgrade on the size of the room, only the deck location. It is worth investigating this option of Guaranteed Category booking as you might get lucky and get bumped up to even better quarters.
This ship is awesome. Being practically new, everything is spotless and in very good shape. I read that someone thought that the ship is showing wear, and I really tried to find what they were referring to. I could not find anything that needed replacing, except perhaps the bedspread on our bed. The bedspread gets a lot of wear due to cruisers laying their suitcases on it, even though it is removed every night by the stateroom attendant with bed turndown. Bring good walking shoes and be prepared to walk a great deal because this ship is almost 1,000 feet long. The elevators are glass and mirrors and the whole ship is decorated in a contemporary style. Marble floors and Las Vegas style carpeting are used throughout the interior. Very often we forgot we were actually on a ship at all as this ship is so large and beautiful. There are two salt water pools with Jacuzzis and one therapy pool (heated salt water with jets) with accompanying Jacuzzi. There is a special pool for young children however I did not view it. Get to the pool area early in the day to get a good chaise lounge close to the pool, as these get grabbed up quickly. Although the staff discourages "saving" pool chairs, this is more common than not, and I have found that whatever policies exist anywhere there will be people willing to break them. These chair hogs make it difficult to find a good spot unless you get out there early. One tip is really worth mentioning - - DO NOT take the two Millennium towels from your stateroom to the pool. If you lose them and forget them at the pool or elsewhere, you will be charged $28 PER TOWEL at the end. Unfortunately there was NO notice of this "policy" in the room and I took one of the towels to the pool on the first day and forgot it there. On the second day when reading the daily ship newspaper that arrives in your stateroom, there was a reminder about the towels. Being upset that I would have to pay for a towel that I didn't have, I asked our stateroom attendant if there was anything I could do to get my towel back, and he told me that it would okay and not to worry. He gave me another towel. I was never charged, however it is best to be safe then sorry. Don't lose the towels.
Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic
This was our first stop on our 7 day cruise and a MAJOR disappointment. We were to understand that this was the first time the Millennium stopped here and unfortunately we were the guinea pigs. We were the first of the passengers to leave the ship and when we got to the top of the hill at the port there were about 20 mini buses waiting to take us to the Caso de Campo compound which consists of some 1700 acres. After a ride of about 20 minutes we arrived at this newly constructed "village" with about 20 stores and a marina. Viewing this from the window of the bus, we decided this was not where we wanted to spend our day, so we didn't get off the bus. Another couple was also turned off by what they saw and was able to speak Spanish to the bus driver who then drove us to the Caso de Campo resort (another 15 minutes). When we arrived at the resort the staff looked at us like we were aliens from Mars. They spoke very little English and after some effort we were able to ascertain that the beach was not readily accessible and we would have to take another shuttle to get there. We then decided that we just should go back to the ship, but we were stranded there. We paid for a taxi to take us back to the ship and when we approached there were 600 people that were waiting for those mini buses to go on the same FIASCO trip we just returned from. We went to Customer Relations immediately and complained. We also canceled our excursion planned for that night on this island (a Latin Extravaganza of dancing, singing, etc.) due to the potential for another miserably planned and organized effort. The ship was so nice and comfortable that many people cruise for the ship only with little regard to the ports it visits. This was one port I HOPE Celebrity will eliminate from their itinerary, since it was a total waste of time and not up to the standards of things Celebrity should be involved with. I understand that hundreds of passengers complained, so the likelihood of this port being scrapped is high. If your cruise does go here, stay onboard. No one needs this kind of aggravation.
San Juan, PR
The major emphasis of this port is shopping. The ship docks a stone's throw from the old San Juan shopping district. Celebrity gives you great maps of the area, and with so many tourists the shopping district is as safe as any city. Watch your valuables and wear comfortable walking shoes and you will be fine. We did an excursion called "old San Juan-New San Juan" and felt that it was overpriced for what we actually got. It was interesting however to see the contrast between the two sections of the city. The tour also included a visit to a old fort in old San Juan which was marginally interesting.
St. Thomas, VI
We were looking very forward to this port due to everything we heard about it. We decided to book an excursion to St. John to snorkel. Upon disembarking the ship, we were told that our tour was canceled due to rough seas and the fact that the Red Hook Ferry was not running. We were disappointed, however decided to do the snorkel trip to Buck Island instead. We sailed to Buck Island with only 6 passengers total on a catamaran and had a lovely day. The rum punch served onboard the catamaran called "Happy Hour" was delicious and the captain and mate only happy to accommodate. Snorkeling here was good, however I felt gypped that I never made it to St. John as I was told that this is one beautiful island. Oh well, hopefully the next cruise will have this on the itinerary. We also went to Charlotte Amalie by taxi (cost: $4 per person) and purchased liquor and cigarettes. Each passenger is allowed to purchase 5 bottles of liquor and 5 cartons of cigarettes duty free. The stores will deliver to the ship at a cost of $1.50. Celebrity will not allow you to have the liquor until the last night of the cruise and they 'save' it for you until then. When you finally get your order, please open the box and check the contents. One carton of cigarettes was missing, but Celebrity made good on the purchase and gave me a carton from their store onboard. There was no reason for Celebrity "saving" your order till the last night and the only thing I could think of is that they wanted you purchase liquor from their bar and not consume liquor they weren't selling. If you want to have liquor in your room, pack a small amount of it prior to the beginning of the cruise or purchase a small amount in San Juan and put it into a tote bag. They do have you go through security whenever you come back from a port, so don't make it obvious.
The port here is a stone's throw from the famous Straw Market and is easily walkable. You can find all your last minute gifts here for all the people back home. After shopping at the Straw Market we decided to take a taxi to the beach. The driver took us to the public beach called Cabbage Beach, which is practically next to the new Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island ($4 per person cab charge). You can rent beach chairs there as well as towels, and they even have a few enterprising individuals renting jet skis. We were told that you can view the main floor of Atlantis and of course visit their casino, but seeing the aquarium there will cost $25. This was the last stop on our cruise and we were very sad to leave Nassau knowing that in the morning we would be back in Ft. Lauderdale to say goodbye to the Millennium.
Dining aboard the Millennium is like eating in a very good expensive gourmet restaurant. Service is excellent and the food delicious. You must dress to dine in the main dining room. No shorts or jeans. If you don't want to be bothered with dressing, you many chose the alternate dining option of the buffet. Both are very good and you should try both. We dined in the main dining room for dinner, but chose the buffet for breakfast and lunch. This cruise had two formal nights and everyone DID dress up. I would recommend the ladies have two formal outfits and the men a dark suit and tie or tuxedo. About 40% of the men had tuxedos, and if you book this cruise far enough ahead you may make arrangements to rent a tux through the cruise line and it will be delivered to your room. In addition to the two options I mentioned, there is also a healthy food area next to the therapy pool for those wishing to watch their diets and also an outdoor grill serving hamburgers and hot-dogs, french fries and the like. The food aboard this vessel was unlike anything I have ever experienced. You will definitely gain weight during the week. Room service is also available at any time of the day or night should you wish a snack or meal. It can be ordered via interactive TV, by phone or by putting a slip on your door the night before. I had my coffee delivered to my room each morning as I cannot function without that caffeine jolt. A small tip to the staff for this is appreciated. The last formal dining night they have the GRAND BUFFET at midnight. This is NOT to be missed. They advised that it takes all their kitchen staff some 100 man hours just to prep for this event. You will want to take pictures of this, so bring your camera, as the people back home will not believe what you tell them. The only slight disappointment on dining and I emphasize the word 'slight', is the fact that there is only one midnight buffet during the 7 days. We also dined the last night at the famous Olympic Restaurant. Service was impeccable here (perhaps slightly overkill) and I felt that while this was an experience I will savor, it wasn't really necessary because of all the wonderful meals available in the main dining room. The night we dined here, the violinist played the theme from The Titanic and I could really envision the opulence those people must have experienced prior to their demise. The Olympic requires a $25 pp charge for dining there. If you do decide to "do the Olympic", make your reservation early, perhaps one of the first things you do after finding your stateroom. I would also recommend that you dine here early in the cruise, perhaps the 3rd night.
A show is available every night for your entertainment. I felt that they were very good and some excellent. You don't want to miss what these talented people have to offer each night with excellent singing, dancing and costumes. Very much on par with a Las Vegas type revue and the best part - all of this is included in your cruise. The band Prodigy plays live at the pool everyday and they are also very good.
We had a wonderful week and I hated to leave the ship to go home. Disembarkation was easy and we got to the airport in plenty of time. Getting a taxi is no problem at all. Being so pampered and well fed was very easy to get used to and felt we were "hooked" on cruising from now on for our vacation. I felt that there was a lot of value for the dollar with this type of vacation and you never had to dine at a bad restaurant or schlep your bags from one hotel to another in order to see the variety of things we saw during the week. I felt that there could be improvement in the area of interaction amongst the passengers and more emphasis could be placed on this by the Cruise Director to plan activities that would nurture this, as it makes for more fun if people are interacting with eachother. by and large this cruise is more laid back than a party boat, if that is what you are seeking. A booze cruise party boat this is not. The small negatives that I mentioned were FAR outweighed by the positives. Celebrity is a wonderful cruise line, the Millennium a very classy ship and I highly recommend both. You will have a week you will never forget.
The idea of a cruise first came to mind while planning a trip to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. We had been discussing various vacation options when my wife mentioned a cruise. A colleague at work had told her about an article in the Globe & Mail (Toronto, National newspaper), the article introduced and rated various cruise lines. Each line was described offering information on ship sizes, number of passengers, age groups targeted, activities, food, etc. . Based on this information we tended to lean to HAL or Celebrity and did some online research. The Celebrity's Millennium, 10-day southern Caribbean itinerary appealed to us both. We contacted a TA, who agreed that Celebrity would probably appeal to us based on what we told her and what we were looking for. So we booked our trip and paid our deposit. Were we doing the right thing? Neither of us had ever cruised before. Would we like it? Would we be seasick? Would this type of vacation work for us?
Even though not all went as planned; we had an excellent cruise which surpassed our expectations. We had planned and booked our cruise with another couple.At the last minute, prior to departure, our friend's wife was admitted to the hospital and they had to cancel their trip. Thank god, for travel insurance. We shared in their disappointment and left for our trip with dampened spirits. The trip had been in the planning for so long and we were celebrating out anniversary and we were going to make the best of it. From the moment we arrived at the ship, one couldn't help but do anything other than to get into the spirit of it.
The ship is beautiful. The ship's lounges and bars are beautiful each with their own appeal one of which would please different age groups and musical interests. From ballroom dancing in the Rendezvous lounge to disco in Cosmos, the elegance of a Martini in the Platinum club, to a football game on satellite TV in the Extreme sports bar. The dining experience (all meals) was superb whether dining in the Metropolitan the main dining room or, one of the alternative dining rooms (Ocean café / grill, Aqua spa buffet. There us always someplace open and serving to have a meal, tea, coffee, ice tea, punch or lemonade. If not room service is available 24 hours a day. The Olympic restaurant, the specialty restaurant, was an experience beyond belief. The additional cost of $25pp was money well spent. The waiters in Tuxedos were at your service at all times. The table set with fine china, crystal and silverware. Our meals were presented tableside. The menu selection & wine menu are superb. The sommelier, will offer wines from the wine cellar. Wine price range from $25 a bottle up to wines in the $100's of dollars. We choose to bring our own wine, which we brought to the dining room earlier in the day to have chilled, and pay the $15 plus tax corkage fee. I must admit this was the only disappointment. When we told the sommelier that he would be serving our wine, he was not discreet enough to hide is disappointment that we would not be ordering from the wine menu.
Our stateroom (Cabin 7116, cat 2B) was well appointed with tasteful décor. There was more than sufficient storage/closet. Our larger pieces of luggage stored easily under the beds and there was plenty of space in the closet to hang all our clothes along with 6 drawers for sox, underwear and t-shirts. The closet also contained life jackets and a safe for safe keeping of cash and valuables. The washroom and shower were a comfortable size, which includes an electrical outlet for electric razor and a blow-dryer (not the most efficient). Veteran cruisers told us that the washroom showers on the Millie seemed larger than on other ships. Our suite with the balcony was an added WOW. A luxury I wouldn't want to do without on future cruises. I really enjoyed having my morning continental breakfast delivered by room service and having breakfast on the balcony while watching the sea go by or arriving at the ports.
The pools and hot tubs were excellent, yes there are still some tiles missing in the shallow, this seems to be an issue, which is frequently mentioned in review. I imagine at some point Celebrity should fix this. The Aqua spa with the Thalassotherapy pool is an experience not to be missed and is a nice escape from the rain when you are at the open-air pool. We did not purchase any of the spa packages nor did my wife have her hair done at the beauty parlor but we did hear from those who had, that the services were excellent but needed to be reserved in advance. The fitness club was well equipped with a trainer there to offer advice on how to use the equipment and offer personalized services. A feature of the Aqua spa we did enjoy was the buffet, which offered light and nourishing meals.
The Celebrity theatre offered nightly entertainment, we had chosen late seating for our meals and the evening shows for late seating were arranged either prior to dinner or after dinner. The pre dinner shows were at 7:00 p.m. and the post dinner shows were at 10:45 p.m. We liked this way of scheduling. If you weren't up to those late night shows you didn't miss all the shows. For, our part we only missed one show. We found the shows to be of professional quality ranging form light entertainment such as the comedian/juggler, the magician, song and dance shows and musical shows. I won't go into the specific names or acts but all were superb productions and very entertaining.
Our Ports of call were, St. Maarten, St, Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, and St. Thomas. Each island has it's own natural beauty and personality. This being our first cruise and visit to the islands we booked our shore excursions with Celebrity. In St. Maarten we did the Regatta sailing, which was a thrilling adventure. In St. Lucia we did the Land/Sea tour to Souffreiers. This tour was exceptional and highly recommended. In Barbados we booked the Harrison Caves excursion. The beauty of the caves is breath taking. In St. Kitts we choose the Nature Kayaking, what a wonderful explore the St. Kitts' coastline and paddle in the Caribbean Sea. When we arrived in St. Thomas our planned excursion "Escape the Magen's Bay" was cancelled due to lack of participation and our shipboard account was credited with our refund. So on we decide to strike out on our own. We took a Taxi island tour, which showed us the island highlights, and following the cab driver's advice we chose Coki beach over Magen's Bay to swim a snorkel. We arranged with the Cab driver to comeback and pick us up two hours later. The cab arrived precisely at the arranged time and returned us to the ship. We paid our cab fare only when arriving at the pier, our total fare was $20/pp.
Our first time cruise experience was beyond all expectation. We met marvelous people from interesting places. Couples like ourselves from Canada, people from all over the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, Spain, Dominion Republic and Australia. A wonderful person of all ages, each with their own stories to tell and share. We made some acquaintances and friends who we hope to someday meet again.
The Celebrity staff and organization are to be commended; they go out of their way to make your cruising experience memorable, safe and secure. Their skill in organization is incredible when you consider the number of passengers the must deal with. A point, which is mentioned in all reviews, is the embarking and disembarking process. Our experience was exceptional. We arrived at the pier at 11:00 a.m. and we were processed and on board by 11:40 a.m. We immediately found our stateroom and we were poolside by noon. On disembarkation the process was just as fast. Our luggage was tagged with brown tags and all our color was called at 9:00 a.m., we were off the ship and in a cab to the airport by 10:15. We were impressed on the efficiency of disembarking process.
We were told that cruising, from June to November, in the Caribbean was risky due to hurricane season, and this of course is true. During our cruise there was a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, which I believe hit the coast of Cuba. This only affected us, one night where we experienced high winds, a bit rougher sea and a spectacular lightning storm during the night; nothing, which really rocked (our boat) the ship. The one big advantage we found was that at all our Ports of call, the Millennium was the only ship in Port and we had no crowds to deal with and had the islands to our fellow passengers and ourselves. With this cruise now behind us, we can comfortably say "Cruising is for us" and we are anxious to live yet another cruising experience.
The Ship - The ship was beautiful even though it's showing a bit of wear. It was very clean and day and night the crew was polishing and cleaning it. The staterooms are very nice and spacious. We had a Cat. 1 with a veranda and had plenty of closet and drawer space. There are shampoo and lotion dispensers in the bathroom along with a blow dryer. We brought extra hangers and were glad that we did. The dining room was two story and nicely laid out with views of the ocean from just about every table. The casino was a bit small for all the action that was taking place in it. It was very crowded just about every evening and not laid out well. We were tripping over each other when the casino was busy. We saw quite a few jackpot winners! The chairs by the main pool were occupied every day and you had to get there very early if you wanted a chaise lounge. One of our favorite places was the Cosmos Lounge on Level 11. It was pure heaven to sit up there duringsea days and get a panoramic view of the ocean. We also loved eating lunch or a late breakfast behind the buffet all the way aft. You're basically sitting at the very back of the ship, outdoors, under picnic type tables. Not many people took advantage of this outdoor space, but it was a perfect place to enjoy a cup of morning coffee while you watched the sea.
The Food - There were many complaints about the food, almost all from people who had cruised Celebrity before. Those who sailed other Celebrity ships claimed that the food on the Millie was inferior. The two main complaints were the quality of the food (it was inconsistent) and the menu selections. My husband and I found the food to be good, not great. We agreed about the menu selections, though. Some nights it was a stretch to find something we liked. We're not huge fish eaters, and usually two of the four selections were fish based. The menu offered shrimp one night, lobster one night, fillet two nights and prime rib two nights. One of our tablemates had chicken every night because she couldn't find anything she really liked on the menu. (you can order chicken, salmon or steak any night even if it's not on the menu...same with shrimp cocktail for an appetizer) Some of the fish selections were species we never heard of, such as Hake. This could be an east coast/west coast thing, though. (we're from the west coast) The first three nights offered the best selections. I liked the selections better on NCL, RCI and even Carnival!
We tried the Olympic dining room one night. It was a beautiful room! We had a very nice time, but probably wouldn't do it again. The service was extremely attentive....almost too attentive. There was always a waiter standing behind you and if you dropped a crumb, he was right there to sweep it up. Personally, I was a bit uncomfortable with this. It was difficult to have a conversation with the waiters standing next to you. The food was good, but not outstanding. If we ordered the suggested wines our bill would have been over $300!
The ocean grill is open for casual dining every night from 6:00 to 9:00. They have two menus that they alternate. You order your main dish from the menu and the soup, salad and dessert are buffet style. We really enjoyed ordering room service for breakfast on port days. You fill out the room service card that is found in the back of your Celebrity Directory of Services book that will be in your room. A nice touch is that they call you a few minutes before room service comes to give you time to be prepared. This was great and the eggs and coffee were always hot and good!
We had early seating and at first I didn't want that, but the ship was full and we couldn't be changed. I ended up being thrilled that we weren't changed. First of all, we had a table with the very best tablemates! We had a great time every evening and ended up doing many activities together. Secondly, we were able to see the evening show at 9:00 instead of 10:45. We never felt rushed getting ready for dinner, even after a day at port. The day we went to Aruba, everyone at the table agreed that we wanted to spend as much time there as possible so we made reservations at the Ocean Grille for 7:00 and met there instead of the main dining room. It was a perfect solution so we could each do our "thing" at port and still enjoy each others company for dinner.
Ports - We loved Key West! It's such a pretty, quaint town. We booked a tour off the internet and had a blast! We drove our own two person speedboats around the mangroves and islands (we followed a guide!) and saw the backyards of multi-million dollar homes. We were on the lookout for manatees, but unfortunately didn't spot one that day. Then, following the guide, we took off into the ocean to a small bay where we snorkled in clear, warm water. The tour lasted about 3 hours - from 9:30 till 12:30. We had about an hour to walk around the town before heading over to the tandem. The tour was from www.jungletour.com <http://www.jungletour.com> and was a lot of fun!
Cozumel - We went to the Nachi Cacoom Beach Club. The sand was pure white and the water was as clear as can be. It usually costs $5 per person to use the chalupas and chaise lounges, but if you're going to buy a drink or lunch, they don't charge you to use the facilities. We sat under the grass chalupas and had a wonderful swimming and snorkeling in the water. They have a nice restaurant there, and also food and drink service directly to your chairs. This beach was not crowded at all and when we passed the ones that the ship recommended, they looked mobbed! Try to get there before noon to get a nice chalupa next to the water. It's a $15 cab ride each way, so see if another couple wants to join you. There are water sports here also...jet skis, parasailing, etc.
Costa Rica - We booked the Tortuguero Canal tour through the ship. We thought the tour was way to expensive for what you got. We saw a few monkeys, a toucan, sloths, a few iguanas but no crocodiles because it was a misty day, If I were to do this port again I would book a tour off the ship from one of the many tour guides that were waiting on the pier. They not only gave you the canal tour, but also the banana plant tour and a beach tour for half the money the ship charged. Everyone we spoke with who took the "off the pier" tour loved it!
Take the free shuttle or walk over to the shopping area. It's an open air flea market and is a lot of fun! This is where you'll find the best prices on their coffee. Panama - We booked the Two Ocean Railroad tour through the ship. It was a pretty good tour...the train was beautiful! We were lucky enough to see a ship pass through the first lock. The Guten Lake is huge and you'll pass right by it. We spotted many monkeys in the trees and a few large turtles roaming by the sides of the tracks near the Lake. If you go into the shopping area right off the pier, bring your camera! You'll find kids walking around with their pet spider and white faced monkeys along with exotic birds etc. For a dollar you'll get a fun shot of yourself holding a monkey. You'll also get a bit of a surprise when you come out of the shopping center and head towards the ship....you'll find a group of Native Panamanians dancing. This might not seem surprising, but they are in all stages of undress (women topless and men have the bottoms bared) and they have green symbols painted all over them. It's a riot watching everyone gather around them!
Aruba - We took a taxi to Palm Beach and were let off at the Marriott Hotel, which is the last hotel on Palm Beach. The hotel is beautiful and after you walk through the lobby (which is where the casino is located) you'll pass a small bridge with a sign that says, "Iguanas Passing" They aren't kidding! There were iguanas walking around this area everywhere you looked and some were huge! Great Kodak moment! We paid $10 for the use of the facilities. We found a chalupa right on the water and the attendant fixed our lounge chairs with Marriott towels. The water was great, the sand was soft and it was nice and shady under the chalupa. Every 15 minutes or so we ventured into the water to float around or snorkel. You can rent floats for $5 for the day or jet ski, etc. We loved having the waiters come to our lounges and take our drink orders and just enjoyed the perfect day.
Grand Cayman - We booked a Stingray City tour off the internet. The tour guide met us at the pier and took us to the Grand Cayman Yacht Club. There we boarded a beautiful yacht and went through the harbor past million dollar homes and out into the sea to the sandbar. This is a MUST DO! The stingrays are as tame as can be and you have to touch them to believe how smooth they are. Our tour guides were wonderful and there were only 18 of us on the yacht. The guides provided the food for the rays and they were in the water with us lifting them up for us to hold and taking pictures of us, etc. After stingray city, the guides took us to Coral Reef where we snorkeled and saw the most amazing fish. The guides provided all the equipment along with floating vests if you wanted it. The price of this tour was $25 per person and lasted just under 3 hours. A nice touch was that we were given the choice of going back to the pier or going to Seven Mile Beach. We chose the beach and again had a ball. The water temp was 88 degrees! The outfit we took the tour with was www.nativewaywatersports.com. I highly recommend them!
Crew - The crew was great! Always a smile and a friendly hello and always willing to help out. Our waiters were perfect, bartenders and drink people were friendly and not pushy and the hostesses seemed to have a ball with their job and tried to get everyone involved. The captain's wife gave a talk to promote her book. If you buy it, read chapter 3 right away!!! WOW!!!! I think the only one we didn't see with a smile on his/her face was the captain himself. I guess he read Chapter 3 of his wife's book!
Glitches - We had a wonderful cruise and the time of our lives! There were just a few things that bothered us and I think the biggest was the rude people on the ship. Some groups didn't think twice about walking right in front of you or cutting in lines, saving rows of seats in the theater, etc. I don't know if this was a language barrier problem or different customs from different countries, or what. There were many large groups of Europeans on the ship and maybe in their countries people are so congested that pushing in front of others is normal...don't know. But, they sure didn't follow by American ways and many, many people were getting visibly upset with their behaviors. We actually witnessed two near fights when a group of 8 cut in line to be with their tour friends. The groups were large...not family groups, but tour groups, and they tended to let everyone in their tour cut in line with them.
Another problem was the pre-teens and teens. Some of them seemed to have nothing to do so decided to run through the ship and play havoc with the elevators, ice tea machines, ice machines, etc. The last few days of the cruise were the worst. I think 11 days may have been too long for some of the kids. We spoke with the teens every chance we could to see if they were enjoying the cruise because we almost brought our 16 yr. old. All of them said the same thing...they were bored! I don't think Celebrity had enough activities for the teen groups.
Last but not least was our cabin stewart. He wasn't very accommodating. One afternoon I asked him for ice and he told me that he would re-fill it at 6:00pm. It was 4:00 and the ice was melted so I asked if he could bring some sooner. "No", he said. "I only bring ice at 10:00am and 6:00pm." I almost had to laugh! I asked him to make an exception and to make that exception quickly! LOL!!!
On the last full day at sea my husband and I were packing up. We decided to order room service for lunch and enjoy the balcony for our last day. I went to look for the room service menu which is in the Directory of Services book. The book was gone so I went to ask John (our steward) if I could have the book back for a few minutes. (the stewards take the book from the room on the last evening so you can't take it home with you) John told me that he didn't want us to have room service that day because he was "busy getting ready for the next cruise." He suggested that we eat in the buffet. I ended up ordering room service through the TV, so everything was fine in the end, but the room steward's attitude was not great for the whole 11 days.
**TIP - This was amazing to me, but you can buy booze on the ship and bring it right back to your room!! They don't hold it till the end of the trip. Just tell them that you want to bring it to your room and they will bag it and let you take it there. This sure saved us a lot of money especially since the liquor is so inexpensive in the shops!
Don't miss going through the Observatory. This is where one lone man designs and produces all the flower arrangements you see on the ship. The place is just amazing. It's located on the 10th and 11th levels (two stories).
My family and our best friends (8 of us) just returned from the 11-nite sailing of the Millennium, which visits islands in the Caribbean sea and several ports in Central America. Embarkation was a breeze and we were aboard by 11:15 A.M. The ship is not spectacular in a glitzy way, as Carnival's newest, but it is elegant and tasteful. The 2-story dining room is stunning, with a wall of glass covering the back (stern) wall, and large, circular windows spaced along the sides.
Our standard outside cabin was of a good size and very well designed. Four of us shared it, and I was pleasantly surprised that we were able to put away all of our belongings (though every available nook and cranny was used, including alongside the T. V., and on top of the safe.) Other ships I have sailed on, and this was our 9th ship, did not have the storage space this one had.
The food on Celebrity continues to be outstanding, the best of the lines we have sailed on, which includes Holland-America, Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Princess. The steaks and prime rib, for example,were of the highest quality, and I can honestly say that not one of the meals was a disappointment.. The lunch buffets at the Ocean Café were the most extensive I have seen, and separate stations included a pasta station, specialty of the day, ice cream bar, and the usual hamburger-hot dog-French fries grill. Staff was even there to carry your tray for you. Lines were never long, even at peak time.
As for entertainment, the production numbers were excellent, particularly the last one, which displayed an imagination I had not seen before on a cruise. The lead tenor and soprano were outstanding, though the other singers were minimally talented.
We enjoyed our time on shore. I would recommend what we did on Grand Cayman, which was to take a ride in a taxi, see the turtle farm, stop by Hell, and spend a few hours at seven-mile beach. The shore excursion we took at Cozumel I would highly recommend; it included a catamaran ride (the boat was called the "Fury"), snorkeling, and some time at a lovely beach. Colon, Panama is a dump, and our bus driver cautioned us against walking about anywhere. Seeing the Panama Canal, however, was well worth the stopover.
My one major complaint was not with the ship but the maitre d' staff. We have traveled together with our best friends for the past eight years, and made sure that our travel agent placed us at the same table. Despite confirmation from Celebrity, which our agent said she had, we were placed at separate tables, not even on the same floor of the dining room. We discovered the dining room assignment upon entering our stateroom, and immediately went to see the maitre d' staff to straighten it out. I found them to be rather pompous and unsympathetic. We were given vague assurances that they would do their best after tonight; this was unacceptable, and our friend told them that if we were going to be at separate tables, we wanted off the ship now. The assistant maitre d' insisted he would see what he could do tomorrow. We asked a party seated at one of the tables to which we had been assigned, if they would consider changing, and they graciously agreed. We ate together that first night and received assurance from that area assistant maitre d' that this table assignment would be permanent for the cruise. However, the following night, a different assistant maitre d' came to our table and said we shouldn't be there-that a party of nine which had not shown up the first night should be there. He then conferred with another of the dining room staff, who said that our request for a table together had been arranged, and that we were supposed to be upstairs at a table for eight. He insisted that each stateroom (there were three in all) had a notice of the table change; in fact, none of the staterooms had any such notice, so how were we supposed to know this? It turned out that the table we eventually would up at was fine, and the waiter, Christian, was very professional. The aggravation of the dining room could have been avoided by better communication among maitre d' staff, and greater sensitivity to the traveling needs of the passengers, who are paying a great deal of money for this experience.
Minor disappointments were that there was not that much to do at night, no late shows for example, and Celebrity could have added a port to our itinerary. The stop at Cartegena was eliminated months ago, and another day at sea substituted. This left us with six ports, on an 11-night cruise, and at one of the ports, in Costa Rica, we did not venture from the ship due to the heavy rain for our entire stopover. Overall, I would rate this ship a 9 out of 10.
I recently cruised for 11 days on the Millennium and enjoyed many aspects of the ship and service. This was my 28th cruise and Princess is still my favorite line although I think each line has their own "best points". H.A.L.'s service and friendliness seems so consistent no matter which ship, princess just knows how to "do it all right", food, shows, service, embarkation, etc. The Millennium's strong points were good embarkation and debarkation processes, adequate food quality and service, but I agree with another review listed here....many people on my deck and hall never saw their cabin attendant the entire cruise! Large bathrooms, well appointed, bright (a real plus) rooms were comfortable, but the closet space does not even begin to approach that of some ships (and I am not speaking as one who always books premium rooms).
The shore excursion dept. was terrible: a mass of over-priced, confusing (with a capital C), and disorganized "tours". Probably the most distressing aspect was to arrive onboard thinking the ship was going to one of my favorite ports, Cartagena, only to find the posting of a U.S. state department advisory. That is understandable, butwhen a crew member told me "this ship has never gone to Cartagena, it was never intended to go, it is a marketing ploy", it did bolster my confidence in Celebrity! I was amazed to find that this was not, as it was made to appear, a "last minute" change. I had talked with Celebrity and the agent a number of times, both were aware that this port is one of my considerations in a cruise, yet no one bothered to tell me they have never actually gone there. Two other incidents on Celebrity kept it from my favorite list. The first has never happened to me on any other ship, but could of course happen anywhere. I took a sauna, the Millennium has the most beautiful sauna I have ever seen...it looks out on the ocean through a huge window.
I was the last person, it was quite late and they were closing. When I reached my cabin, I realized I had left my suit on a hook in the spa. The suit was brand new, but I was not worried as they were cleaning and closing as I hurried to gather my other things and left. I called and was told I could probably pick it up at lost and found the next morning. When I checked, it had "not been sent down yet". I went to the spa/gym, one of the employees said not to worry, and said she saw it when they closed and knew the cleaning people had it. End of story is, my suit was never "found", or at least never turned in. The other incident was really upsetting. While I boarded early and my luggage arrived before expected, I had carefully hung my formal dress bag on one of the many curbside dress bag racks. It never appeared in my cabin with my luggage. I didn't think much about it, my experience had told me they would be rolling the rack from stateroom to stateroom delivering the hanging bags, not unusual for them to arrive apart from the other luggage. Mine never appeared. Very late that night, after late seating and the entertainment, I was on my way to my cabin when I spotted, in a heap, a garment bag. It was in a corner of the main hotel deck passage used for embarkation.
There it was, quite visable, looking like a "pile of garbage" thrown out of the way. I picked it up, took it to the desk, and while they were pleasant, no one could give any explanation. I did receive a bottle of wine delivered to my cabin with an apology, a gesture which reflected class on the part of Celebrity. This small gesture of taking responsibility made the difference to me in ever considering Celebrity again. In this day and age of so many choices and such appealing prices, cruise lines had better pay close attention to the impression they leave with passengers. Many reviews speak of "nickle and dime" tactics, I agree completely, the extra charge restaurants, per diem gym charges, art actions, retail selling, outrageous per min. email charges, etc. may one day drive confirmed cruise-a-holics like myself back to land based resorts. On all ships I have been on lately, 3in the past year, the once interesting, entertaining, and educational activities traditionally a part of the cruise experience (i.e. talks and demonstrations in the spa) have become nothing but high pressure sales pitches for "treatments" I am not sure are proven and possibly, not even safe. Pills to "cleanse" your system are pushed, hand lotion at $30-40 a bottle is touted as if on a TV infomercial, and other disturbing trends. Has this soured me on cruising, not yet, but I do hope that Celebrity and the cruise industry will begin to realize their success has been built on many of the ammenities they are gradually eliminating.
I'm writing this letter to express both praise and complaints about our second cruise with Celebrity Cruise Lines, but first aboard the Millennium.
THE EMBARKATION: All looked quite organized at first glance; however, as new members of the Captain's Club, we became irritated right from the start. We entered the waiting area and took seats near the door marked "Captain's Club and Suites". After about thirty minutes, the doors opened and we joined a line of about twenty five people. As we approached the door, the agent told us there were too many people and we'd have to join the regular line, which was now quite lengthy...so much for the Club's benefits. The check in process went quite smoothly after that and we boarded about 40 minutes later.
THE SHIP: Was quite beautiful, seemed well laid out and handled the full compliment of passengers, around 2,000, quite smoothly. My only complaint would be the public restrooms. They were in need of some obvious repairs, doors' locks inoperative, lights burned out and in constant need of cleaning. Very surprised on a ship only 18 months old.
OUR STATEROOM: We had two adjoining balcony rooms, #9073and 75. The large sliding door was a nice plus and the room quite comfortable. We were impressed with the speed our room steward and assistant were able to get in and out in the morning after leaving the rooms very neat and clean. My only complaint here would be that we had asked on the first day, that we have ice delivered every afternoon around 5pm, but only received it once or twice in eleven days. We had to call every evening and were only able to get through about half the time. As tacky as it may seem, if the passengers had access to a machine as you do in a hotel, it would cause a lot fewer problems in the long run.
DINING: We only saw our Maitre' D the first evening. When we traveled on the Century in '97, we were visited by him almost every night, very impressed with that. We weren't impressed with our waiter, Garrie, at all. He spent very little time with us, difficult to understand, made no eye contact with the table and spoke so fast explaining anything on the menu that we had to ask him to repeat himself. When my wife asked to have just an appetizer versus a main course one evening, he said it couldn't be done. After that, we didn't bother making any special requests. We were at a table for ten, and all of us felt dissatisfied with his service. As a result, six of us only ate a total of seven meals at his table. We did however, greatly enjoy the Olympic Room. We dined there twice and felt it was well worth the extra expense. The other alternative eating areas were also a pleasure. The food was good and the crew kept up with the cleaning of dirty tables for others to dine. The pizza stand was quite good and the hamburger/hotdog area was a hit with anyone we talked to...couldn't beat their french fries anywhere in the world.
ENTERTAINMENT: The Cruise Director, Jim Cannon, was excellent. I can only guess that he's well compensated for the job he does, as he could easily be entertaining elsewhere with great success. He was knowledgeable in many areas, including cameras, computers and dancing class instruction. He had a great voice and was always enthusiastic in his presentations. The pianist and comedian in the Celebrity Theater were great; however, there should definitely, be some thought given to other decent entertainers for a voyage of a week or more. Howard and Rose in the lounge, as well as The Vibz at the pool were terrific. The movies shown in the theater, other than Pearl Harbor, were quite second/third rate. I believe there were only three different titles spread out over eleven days. SPECIALTY ROOMS: The computer room was laid out nicely with plenty of machines to go around; however, I'm sure the fifty cent per minute charge kept the crowds down. There were a number of classes given by a very knowledgeable staff member. The library needs some looking into. It seemed as though the hours of operation were very poor. I'm not sure why there is a need for a crew member to be present to have it open, as the selection of books is quite limited. When we traveled on the Century, the doors were open at least during the day and early evening without a staff member present. It just makes a nice quiet area to read even if you bring your own book(s).
FINAL THOUGHTS: The Good- The ship was laid out extremely well, easy to get around and very well decorated. There didn't seem to be any problems with waiting in any lines, things flowed quite nicely. The Olympic Room was a major success. The Bad- Our server in the Main Dining Room was the biggest drawback. Fortunately, we had nice dining experiences in other parts of the ship. Never approached by the Maitre' D and asked about the service at our table. Generally felt that the attitude of the crew was much different from our experience in '97 aboard the Century. We are thinking that possibly since the merger of Royal Caribbean that year, the training has gone more towards RCC's standards. We've been on two of theirs and that was our complaint with them, very insincere. The Ugly- The Captain's Club advantages were a rip-off. The point of early boarding and disembarkation was a major misrepresentation. The disembarkation needs some organizing. The color coded bag tags works well until you find that nobody pays attention at the gangway. If you at least had to show your claim checks, I believe it would cut into the large number of people that leave at first call, yet not belonging to that group. Then once you arrive at the baggage claim area, the aisle for walking was down the center, but the bags were grouped by color on both sides of the traffic. If they were grouped either one side or the other, it would have made finding your luggage without crossing back and forth "through traffic". After retrieving your bags and kin, street side was a mess. Those who tried to be civil while finding a cab, ended up getting run over by others who were stopping them in the middle of the street. I strongly suggest that there be a line set up with ropes on the sidewalk and a representative taking people in order to access a cab. Things were getting stressful for everyone.