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.
THE SHIP: This was the first of hopefully many cruises to come. It was all we expected and more. We were very impressed with the ship on the outside as well as the inside. A very elegant ship.
EMBARKATION: Couldn't have been easier. This being our first cruise, i was a bit nervous, but things went very smooth. From the moment we arrived at the ship, til the moment we were checking out our stateroom couldn't have been longer than fifteen minutes. Then we were off to check out the buffet being served. Good first impression.
OUR STATEROOM: Believe it or not, the room was a bit larger than we actually expected. It could get a bit cramped with the three of us trying to get ready, but you spend so little time in there, this didn't make a difference. We did enjoy having oceanview. Our room steward was great. Whenever we need anything, he was right there.
DINING: What can I say. Food, Food and more Food. The steaks were always cooked to perfection. Our waiter (from Turkey) was great. Couldn't have been better. If we ordered something we didn't care for,no problem, just order something else. One of our party guest was celebrating his birthday. They sang to him and presented him with a birthday cake. The assistant waiter, Peter, was also good. He maybe could have kept up with the drinks a little better, but we enjoyed him. The breakfast buffet was great. Anything you wanted, they had. The pizza and hamburgers were also great.
ENTERTAINMENT: We never made it to any of the shows. There is just not enough time to do everything. We did however play bingo twice a day. We enjoyed this even though we never won. We really enjoyed the music at the pool. They were GREAT! We even requested a few songs. Country and Western night and Mexican night was lots of fun.
PORTS OF CALL: Not too impressed with San Jaun. Wouldn't really care to go back. We did however visit the Rain Forest, that was rather interesting. St. Thomas was much nicer. We visited Magens Bay and enjoyed the shopping. I feel the best was saved for last. The Bahamas. We went to Paradise Island. This place is breathtaking. While there, you must visit The Atlantis Resort. I would love to have stayed there longer.
FINAL THOUGHTS: All except for the week coming to an end, everything was great. The only thing I would like to see changed is to include soft drinks in the price of the cruise and always have tea and lemonaide available. Even adding a salad bar would be nice. Other than that, keep doing what you are doing and I can't wait to cruise with Celebrity again.
We just recently returned from our first Celebrity cruise on the Millennium and I wanted to post our review of the ship and cruise. I'm offering my own opinion, from my own perspective with the hope that others might benefit from this information. Our overall cruise experience was wonderful and we had a great time, so please don't take any criticism of the cruise personal.
This was our sixth cruise, so I still consider us fairly novice at the cruise experience. We are in our mid-40's and on this trip my wife and I took our 18-year old daughter and we met my parents and my brothers and their wives for the cruise. As noted, this was our first Celebrity cruise, having previously cruised Carnival (Inspiration), Princess (Sea Princess) and Royal Caribbean (Radiance of the Seas) once and Holland America (Veendam) twice. My review will obviously include some comparisons to those earlier experiences.
We made our own flight arrangements with Orbitz and flew into Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, the day before the cruise. This is a must for us, and I can't imagine ever flying in on the day of departure again. Westayed at the AmeriSuites Hotel for the first time. It has a nice location with respect to Port Everglades, and they have a shuttle that picks you up at the airport and will take you to the Port on the day of embarkation. Using their courtesy phone near baggage claim, we called the hotel and their van was there in only a few minutes for the short ride to the hotel. The hotel is located near 17th Street where there is plenty of shopping and several places to eat. On previous trips we have always stayed at the Embassy Suites, and this is right next-door. The Hotel is not up to Embassy Suites standards, but it was clean. I would rate it a 2 Star hotel, similar to a Comfort Inn, but with a small sitting area and kitchenette. There is an Outback right outside the hotel. We ate at a Mexican Restaurant in a strip shopping center just east across the street from the Embassy Suites. Prices were reasonable and the food was fine.
Since there was a long line for the hotel shuttle, we had the hotel call some cabs for the short ride over to the Port. This is a 5-minute cab ride and we were there by 11:30 a.m. The place was wide open and we were processed through check-in faster than I've ever seen. No lines at all, and we got our Celebrity ID Cards and were on the ship in 10 minutes of arrival at the Port. The card functions as an ID, key to your stateroom and shipboard charge card. As you enter the ship, they take your picture and digitally cross-reference it to your card so that every time you punch in, your picture comes up for the gatekeepers. Easily the best embarkation we have ever experienced. If Celebrity is always this good at embarkation, they deserve very high marks.
One advantage of arriving early is the opportunity to photograph the ship without the crowds of people. Even though the cabins are not ready, we were able to drop off our carry-on and begin exploring the ship right away. I'm sure you've already ready how impressive the Millennium is. It is a beautiful ship. Very clean and still looking like new.
Cabin: We have stayed in the HAL Mini-Suites, balcony cabins, outside cabins, and yet have come to prefer the inside cabin. To many that may sound strange, but we always sleep better in inside cabins and since we spend so little time in there, I'll be surprised if we ever book anything else. It also helps us justify cruising more often, as we spend less. We were on Deck 8, the Panorama Deck in Cabin 8089. These cabins are adequate in size, even with our daughter who slept on a bed that dropped out of the ceiling. There is plenty of closet and drawer space and the bathroom was very nice, including a shower that is much larger than some we have seen. All in all, we were very pleased with our cabin, with one very big exception. We made the mistake of booking a room below the swimming pool. Even though the pool is located on deck 10, the bottom of the pool is on deck 9, so we could hear the water of the pool sloshing back and forth all night long. If you're going on this ship, do not book a mid-ship inside cabin on this floor. In general the rooms are not very quiet and noise from the hall is easily audible. They begin vacuuming at 8:00 a.m. every morning, which might create difficulties if you like to sleep in. Our cabin steward, Wilfred was great; never intrusive, but always available.
Aqua Spa: This is truly one of the nicest areas of the ship. They have plenty of equipment and offer several spa treatments. Our daughter had a facial which she enjoyed very much, my wife was pleased with her haircut and color, and I enjoyed the best massage I've ever experienced on a cruise. If I weren't already married, I would have proposed on the spot. There is a nice dry sauna in the men's changing area with a view of the ocean, and the showers in the changing area are particularly nice; wonderful, strong stream of warm water. They have lockers and you get your key from the spa desk attendant. The Thermal Pool Area, including the Thalassotherapy Pool is also very nice but the water was very cool on the first sea day and they never seem to keep the hot tubs warm enough. by the second day the Thalassotherapy Pool water was nice and warm but the adjacent hot tubs were always cool. These are all saltwater pools and this is a nice area to relax inside early in the morning. It did get a bit crowded in the afternoon. One of my biggest complaints relates to the charge for use of the Thermarium. This is a beautiful area inside the Aqua Spa that has a Turkish Bath (warm steam room), the Grotto (hot steam room) the Laconium (cool aroma therapy room), two special showers with scented water and a relaxation area of heated tile seating. I enjoy steam rooms and like to begin each day on a cruise with a steam. But on the Millennium, you must make an appointment for these rooms and there is a charge of $18.70 per hour of usage. It was often difficult to schedule a time and usually it was not available before 9:30 a.m. On all other ships we have cruised, they have had free steam rooms that were open and available at any time. I missed that. Don't get me wrong. The Thermarium is wonderful. I just think it should be free and always open.
Ocean Grill: We ate Breakfast and Lunch in the Ocean Grill area throughout the cruise. There are two buffet lines on each side of the ship. In addition, there is an area further aft from the buffets where omelets are prepared for breakfast and special lunch items are prepared, usually a pasta or pizza. Pizza is also served from these areas in the late afternoon and evening. All the way back to the aft, is an additional serving area that offered lighter breakfasts and specialty lunches. One day it was oriental, another sandwiches, and another Italian. I felt it was the best place to get lunch. There is also a nice outdoor seating area aft of the Ocean Grill. The quality of the food was excellent, but bare in mind that I prefer a noisy Tex-Mex restaurant over any place with tablecloths. Ice Cream is also served at times in the Ocean Grill area, and tea, cookies and pastries are put out each day around 5:00 p.m. The cookies are excellent.
Metropolitan Restaurant: We had early seating at Table 502 on the upper deck of the restaurant all the way aft against the windows. This was a perfect seating area and we had the best waiter and assistant waiter of any cruise. Valer, from Romania was wonderful as our waiter, and Bosko, from Croatia was equally excellent. The food in the dining room was very good, especially the cold fruit soups and dessert selection. On previous cruises, we felt Princess had the best offerings, but I would now say that Celebrity was its equal. Valer was particularly nice to bring out one of every dessert so that we could sample all of them before making our selection. Since we were all family, this worked out great and gave us a chance to try so many things. The menus were always varied with excellent choices, including pastas, chicken, seafood and beef. We ate all too well on this cruise. We did not eat any other meals in the restaurant, but other family members did and said it was excellent. Nor did we try the Olympic restaurant, but my brother did and loved it.
Deck Areas: The pool area always seemed busy, loud and crowded which is not really my cup of tea, but there are always open chairs throughout the ship on other decks. We generally hung out towards the aft portion of the ship because it was quieter and less windy. I also enjoyed the Promenade deck. This is a great area to get out of the sun, read a book and take a nap. Unfortunately, the deck chairs do not recline back enough, but it's still very comfortable and quiet. Quite frankly, this is one of my favorite cruise pastimes, sitting on a promenade deck reading and napping with the beautiful view of the ocean. It's hard to beat. I love HAL's Promenade Deck.
Entertainment: We went to all the shows in the Celebrity Theater and would rank this as one of the weakest in comparison to our other cruises. The Celebrity dancers and singers are very talented and the shows did get better as the week progressed. Production seems to be the weakest link. The first night's show ("Classique") was terrible, their second show ("Platinum") was good and their final show ("Broadway") was very good. We thought the other entertainers: Thien Fu - comedian and juggler and Beni Mason - comedian were definitely not up to the standards of entertainment on previous cruises. You would be more likely to see them at the Holiday Inn than on a first class cruise. Don't bother. Shirley Harmer - singer was excellent, but was not featured enough. The back-up band was great and I wish they had been featured or at least given a greater opportunity to perform. The theater itself is beautiful with lots of good seats and excellent sight lines.
Clubs and Casino: Cosmos, Rendezvous Lounge and Platinum Club offer many areas for sitting and enjoying good company. However, the best looking club on the ship is Michaels Club, the cigar lounge. I don't smoke, but this is definitely a nice place to hang out. There is also a card room on the Promenade Deck, which is a nice place to gather for a friendly game of Hearts. The Casino is one of the largest we have seen at sea. It was fairly crowded and getting through to the other side is sometimes difficult.
Shops, etc: The shops were nice but didn't compare with what we have seen on other ships. This isn't a strong point of Millennium, but then again, we don't really shop on ship anyway. There is an Internet Room, which I used on one occasion; fairly simple to use, but very expensive - $.95 per minute. Best to step into an Internet Cafe on the islands. We were pleased with the photo service, but make note that formal night pictures are more expensive.
Let me say at the start that we typically do our own thing on island stops. We prefer to plan our own day and avoid the tours offered by the cruise line, so I can't tell you anything about the tours. But here is what we did:
San Juan: One of my favorite stops. We simply walked off the ship and walked around the water to El Moro. This is a beautiful walk along the sea and provides some great picture taking opportunities. Follow the path all the way to the end at the opening to San Juan harbor. This path doesn't lead up to El Moro. You have to back track to the gate and then go up the road to the top of the hill. It's worth the walk. El Moro is a beautiful place and offers some great views. From there we walked back down into Old Town for shopping. My only complaint here was that we only got the afternoon in San Juan. I would have preferred an entire day.
Catalina Island, D.R.: Tender service was fine, but of the private islands we have been to, this definitely ranks last. HAL's Half Moon Cay and Princess Cay are both superior. It's a beautiful island, but when you tender to shore, they don't have the lounge chairs set up all along the beach. Instead, an attendant gathers the necessary chairs and carries them with you to a spot on the beach. They will tend to want to drop you off as close as possible, which means you will be right in the middle of 2,000 other chairs. Be sure you make it clear you want to move further down the beach away from the crowd. He will be reluctant, but will understand his tip depends on it. To get any privacy, you will need to go far, but it's worth it. The crowd towards the tender dock was terrible. We were disappointed they didn't offer parasailing.
St. Thomas: We did here what we always do at St. Thomas. We caught a cab to Red Hook, took the ferry to St. John and then a cab to Trunk Bay. This has to be one of the most beautiful beaches in all the world. It wasn't too crowded and we enjoyed beautiful weather and nice warm water. This beach offers changing and shower facilities with the $4 admission price. It is well worth the effort to get here. We then took the Downtown ferry back to St. Thomas. This ferry will drop you off near the cruise ships and then takes you right to downtown where we spent the afternoon shopping. I suspect this was my wife's favorite part of the cruise. Another cab ride back to the ship and we were off. Again, I wish we could have stayed longer at St. Thomas. A 10:00 p.m. departure would be nice.
Nassau: I had heard bad things about Nassau, but it was one of the nicest stops of the cruise. We did a walking tour of the island, walking up to Queen Victoria's steps and then back around town into the shopping district. Plenty of shops and a nice outdoor flea market that my wife loved. Again we were limited to an afternoon in Nassau. Because of the time limitation, we didn't get out to Paradise Island, but you have a nice view of Atlantis from the pier. It looks impressive and it would have been nice to spend a day over there. I had found a day rate of $150 at the Comfort Suites, which gives you access to the Atlantis facilities, but we didn't feel it would be worth it for the short time we could stay and we wanted to explore Nassau, since this was our first trip there.
Disembarkation: The worst part of disembarkation is having to clear US Immigration and Customs at 7:00 a.m. in the Celebrity Theater. The rest of the process was almost as easy as embarkation. We waited in one of the lounges for our color to be called and then joined the line to exit the ship. Our bags were organized by color and we grabbed them and headed for a cab. It was a short ride to the airport and the longest lines I have ever seen at any airport; lines for the restrooms, lines for food, lines to check-in and lines for security. Flying is easily the worst part of cruising and so I won't bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that after spending many hours in line, we took a bump to fly home Monday and received vouchers sufficient to cover our air for the next cruise. American put us up in the Airport Hilton, which is a reasonably nice hotel. The hotel itself is a little worn, but the room was nice and clean. Our schedules allowed this flexibility and coming home to snow and ice reminded us that one more day in the warmth of Florida made the effort worth it.
Summary Pros and Cons:
1. I don't like that on Celebrity if you chose to not eat in the Dining Room, you have to make a reservation for the alternative dining, even in the Ocean Grill. They also add a service charge. On other cruises, you eat where you want, without the need of a reservation. I'm on vacation, I like flexibility. 2. We had a great room steward, waiter and assistant waiter. But I felt that the overall attitude of the ship staff was not as good as I've seen on other ships. Many had unhappy faces and rarely smiled. There were wonderful exceptions and we made friends with several staff members, but in general the attitude was fairly cool and somber. I don't think many are happy. 3. As noted above, the added charge for the Thermarium. This alone will probably keep me from cruising Celebrity again unless it's a deal too good to pass up. They also didn't offer discounting on spa treatments as we have seen on other ships. 4. The energy level of the entertainment was lacking and the added entertainers were weak, in my opinion. Cruise director was only fair. 5. I know this will get me in trouble, but we didn't think the overall friendliness of the other cruisers was up to what we have found on other ships. Please don't take this wrong, but one of the things we enjoy most about cruising are the wonderful friends we have made. On this ship, people did not seem as open or friendly. When we were able to strike up friendships on the island stops, they were always from other cruise ships. Maybe its Celebrity's crowd, maybe it was just this cruise, and okay, so maybe it was us.
1. Any cruise is great and this was no exception. Beautiful ship, nice ports and unbelievable weather. 2. Problems with our stateroom could have been avoided if we hadn't been under the pool, but the noise from the hall was more noticeable anyway. Celebrity doesn't wow you with clever towel folding like Carnival, but the Staterooms were nice. 3. The food was great. If you like to eat, take any cruise. If you like to eat well, don't hesitate to cruise Celebrity. 4. Embarkation, embarkation, embarkation!! Never better.
My husband Charlie, and I flew to Ft. Lauderdale the day prior and stayed at the Sheraton Yankee Trader on Ft. Lauderdale beach. It was heaven, flying down from cold and damp New England to the sunny and warm 85 degree temperatures. We had dinner that evening at Shula's Steakhouse which is located in the hotel. What a marvelous way to start a great vacation! It was heaven!!
Sunday, we took a cab to the pier at 10:00 am, checked our bags and waited for boarding which began promptly at 10:45 (we are Captains Club Members).
The ship is gorgeous! We stashed our carry on bags in our Category 1A cabin (9100) on the Sky Deck (which had the famous overhang, but, not a problem) and began to explore the ship.
The Champagne Bar and Martini Bar are located on opposite sides of the same wall. We spent many hours at both, and it was wonderful. Please note that the side of the ship on which the Champagne Bar is located is the smoking side, and this area got quite stuffy and smoky during some periods, hence we moved over to theMartini side. We also spent some time in Michaels Club, which is the Cigar Bar. They have wonderful ventilation there, so the smoke did not bother me too much. The dining room was wonderful, the food is really quite spectacular. I ate meat every night which is not my normal habit, but, it was so darn good! Our table mates were wonderful, a nice mix of people. We also had high tea one day in the main dining room which is not to be missed. They have lovely finger sandwiches along with desserts. Dress is semi formal, but men do not have to wear a tie, only a jacket. We have been cruising for a few years now, and opted to skip the shows, but, we heard the entertainment was top notch.
The pool area is quite large, we always got a lounge chair. There is ample room for shade seekers. They have hamburgers, and hotdogs at the pool grille at noon and wonderful pizza at 3 pm. The promenade deck was wonderful for sitting and reading a book. The chairs on this deck are padded, but, do not recline, so occasional napping is hard. The Thellassophy (sp) pool was a wonderful, quiet haven. The best kept secret on the Millie is the little grille located behind the "T" pool. They serve low calorie, low cholesterol meals there that were to die for. So flavorful!!! We ate our breakfast and lunch there. One lunch was sushi, another was a Chinese noodle dish. YUMMY!!
Our stops were San Juan, Catalina (their private island), St Thomas (St John) and Nassau. We stayed on the ship for the first two, but, in St. Thomas, took the ferry over from Red Hook to St. Johns where we went to Trunk Bay and Maho Bay, two truly beautiful beaches which are paradise on earth. In Nassau, we took a ship excursion over to Atlantis Resort. It was wonderful, the resort is awesome, and their underground aquarium is not to be missed.
We had a few portraits taken by Tommy, the best photographer on Millie. He really knew about shadows, angles and such. He was a perfectionist.
Disembarkation: We are Captains Club members, so we are first off the ship which as around 8:30 am. We were in the security line at FLL at 9:00 am and on our flight at 11:00 am back to Boston.
What a wonderful trip, we are booked on the Constellation next Feb. 2003 for her Southern Caribbean route. We always travel alone, its fun meeting couples that share the same love of cruising, and we did meet many fine people on Millie.
If you have any questions regarding the Millie please feel free to write.Sue
I really valued the reviews I found while researching for our cruise. I hope this helps someone too!
We sailed the Caribbean with 8 people; besides me, we had my wife, and 2 kids (11,8) my brother, and his 2 girls, (14,12), and my mother. We sailed as a group, 4 years ago on the Mercury, to the western Caribbean, so that is my point of comparison. My family lives in Maryland, the rest live in Florida.
We got to Ft Lauderdale the day before we sailed, and met the rest of our party(from Florida) at the terminal at 11 AM. Boarding was an absolute breeze! We walked in, were directed to a man that got our paperwork organized, we went up to a counter to check in, and on the ship we went!! We had changed our rooms around since booking, so we needed to stop at guest relations, right as we went aboard to switch our keys around. While I did that, my wife checked on our seating, it was fine, so we were set, ready to check the ship out!! The pools and hot tubs were open,as was the Ocean Cafe, serving lunch, so we got a bite, then checked out the Extreme Sports Bar, to watch the Ravens game. The ship was fabulous!! Everything was extremely clean, and by getting on early, there were very few people milling around.
The food was excellent in the dining room, and we had a great assistant waiter, Bosco. Our Head waiter was OK, but didn't have much of a personality (that was the biggest difference from the Mercury, luck of the draw!) Bosco made up for it! We had early seating, and there were just a couple of times that we didn't think that some of the courses were delivered quick enough. No problem ordering extras either! We had multiple desserts every night.
We ate all lunches in the Ocean Cafe (buffet) or the Poolside Grill (Hamburgers, Hot dogs). The buffet had a ton of selections, and everyone, even the kids always found some things they liked. They also had specialty foods in the rear of the cafe every day. The ship had waiters there to carry your trey and get drinks for you too. My mom and the kids found this very helpful.
We ate 2 breakfasts in the dining room. The 1st was great, good selections, great, fast service. The 2nd was not good. We ate right after the St Thomas immigration inspection when everyone aboard needed to get up and check in, and it looked like the dining room didn't have enough help, it took over an hour to get breakfast delivered. I think everyone had the same idea as us that morning, to eat in the main dining room. This was our only experience with poor service on this trip.
The midnight buffets were great, they had 2 fun parties to go along with the food by the pool. On a couple of nights they didn't have the midnight buffets, but walked around with gourmet bites instead. I didn't care for them, but they always had pizza out too, so I was happy!
Also, room service was fast, and good. We had sandwiches one evening, and my son had dinner in the room another night.
We had 4 oceanview staterooms, no balconies, together. 2 rooms connected. The rooms were very nice, plenty of space, and our cabin steward Gratiella, was very efficient, and just a charm! She cleaned the rooms twice a day, and filled our ice at least 3 times a day, and always had a smile on her face!!
We attended all of the shows (I missed 1) I thought the production numbers they put on were very entertaining. The Celebrity dancers were very talented, and really full of energy. Thien Fu the comedian/juggler was good, but I didn't like the older headliner singer they had one night(Shirley Something.) She performed with a comedian though, and he was funny. The shows were only about an hour long, which worked out well.
The casino was larger than other ships I have been on, but it was still crowded at peek time (like it should be!) Smoking was allowed in there, and that got to me a couple of nights.
The kids programs were good, the counselors were great! Our 8 and 11 year olds participated on and off the whole cruise.
We thought the cruise director, Eric Bohus did a great job! He is responsible for the shows, and ship board activities. I didn't make the connection until the last day, but it turns out we knew each other in college; we graduated together at High Point College, in '81! Once I realized that, we hooked up and reminisced for a while.
I didn't get to the gym, but did play basketball 4 or 5 times. They have a great set up, that is tucked out of the wind, and is full court! It even has lights for night time play. They also had volleyball at Catalina. We played several games with international participation!
San Juan, we walked the shops, then walked along the water outside of the castle walls. The water walk was beautiful, but a little hot, and it didn't really lead anywhere. If anyone does that alk, you don't have to walk to the end!!
Catalina Casa de Campo, most everyone, including the kids did the horseback riding, and had a blast!! They said the handlers let you do more than just walk with the horses, and they saw some great sights! I did Catalina, joined by the rest of the family later in the day. It was a beautiful beach, with a BBQ lunch, and a band.
St Thomas, we ended up going to Coki Beach, and I'm glad we did. The snorkeling was fantastic, we must have seen 30 types of fish, and they are all right off of the beach!! The water was, as my son put it "clearer than our pool!" and the water was warm. If you go there the fish are on the right side of the beach looking out over the water, along the rocks. It felt like we were in an aquarium! If you go there take some money with you, they have stands that make some delicious frozen drinks!! (The Blast and Brown Monkey were our favorites! $5 for 16 oz.)
Nassau, My wife and I stayed on the ship, poolside, enjoying the day, while the rest went shopping. They weren't too impressed, but 3 got their hair braided, and they bought some jewelry.
Other things that stood out:
I was surprised at how clean and blue the pools were. I found out they are salt water pools, but they filter and chlorinate the water like a regular pool, which makes it look so much better.
Speaking of clean, they did a great job of keeping the ship clean too, and they must have done a lot in the middle of the night, because we didn't see people cleaning all of the time.
The pool band was very easy to listen too, and they played a wide variety of music. I wished they played more!
They had a ton of chase lounges around the pool and on the deck above. On sea days, people getting out to the pool late might have trouble finding chairs together, but there were always more on the higher deck that circled the pool, plus there is a better breeze up there. If you are looking for shade, on sea days you better get a chair early. The ship always kept a large supply of towels handy too. Passengers: no problems encountered!! Most everyone was having a good time, and I found most returned my "hi's" and "hellos" with a smile!! Each night at dinner, someone at our table, including the kids was required to make a toast. This turned out to be a really good thing, and we all looked forward to it each night.
There are 2 formal nights on the Millie. (I thought there was only 1 when we went!) There are also at least 2 informal nights (coat & tie requested) a lot of men, including myself, would ditch the coat and tie after dinner and just wear a long sleeve dress shirt with dress pants.
The poolside grill had great tasting hamburgers and fries, which hit the spot about mid week! The Martini Bar offered a large variety of drinks, but they were $8.00 a piece, so we only went there once! We had 30 knot winds one day, 12 ft seas, but the ship handled them well. It rolled some, but not bad.
Aquaspa: Very well done., warm water, nice surroundings. The outside pools were on the cool side, but refreshing on a hot day. There was a lot of artwork throughout the ship. I didn't 'get' most of it. I don't know if it was me or the artists!
Getting off the ship:
Very quick, basically we walked off when our color was called, quickly passed through customs, and to our luggage. We used the trick of tying bright ribbon on our bags, and it worked like a charm!! I used yellow surveyors tape, and spotted our bags in no time. The airport was busy, and it took about 30 minutes to get through security.
As you can tell, we really enjoyed our cruise!! On the last night, one of the kids said it only felt like we had been gone a few days, I think that is the sign of having a good time!
Still rockin and rollin from this cruise on The Millennium. What a rocky road to the caribbean this was!!!! But, this trip was bouncy and now I am wondering if the problem with the stabilizers on this ship was ever corrected????? Everybody rolled everywhere. I saw some injuries as a result of this rocky ride as well. If anybody has the answer I would love to hear from you......it was really awful. People were buying Bonine and wrist bands and even I got a little queezy from this trip.
The food in the Metropolitan Restaurant was not as good as I had anticipated from Celebrity. The restaurant on the Mercury far surpassed this ship in quality. The staff in this restaurant left a lot to be desired. Guess we were really treated so well on the Mercury that we expected the same on this ship.
Great disappointment we felt. Anybody out there who feels the same????????? Ship too big but grateful that I lost the 8 pounds from ALL the walking. This is the most positive thing I can say about this cruise.
perfect.....from start to finish.....
the ship, the staff, the cabin, the FOOD, was every bit as great as we knew it would be. Having sailed on the Mercury twice and two Royal Caribbean ships, we prefer Celebrity for food, as truly superior. I think the cabins on both lines are lovely and the gyms on RCCL were better, but the staff was wonderful and the food was outstanding.
flew USAirways from Reagan National to Ft. Lauderdale and that went smoothly as well. a perfect vacation for my mother, my sister and myself. we travel well together, and will now start ot plan next year's cruise.
Just back from Millennium week of March 17, 2002-March 24, 2002. What a beautiful, classy ship. I thought I would write this review or sort of a review and share some of my thoughts about the experience. The weather was beautiful the entire trip and that moon over the water, Wow! It is nothing like standing out on your own balcony watching the ships wake in the moonlight and other cruise ships following in the distance. Feeling the warm breeze on your face. It is really nice being back there on the rear of the ship because you are sheltered from the winds that others experience on the forward balconies.
Really smooth and quick. (Disembarkation was another matter, more on that later) We drove to the port and after waiting in line at the main gate to have our ID's checked, we drove right up to the terminal door, Terminal 18. Directions to all the ships were on every corner. I pulled up, jumped out and a porter helped us get the luggage out of the car. He also assisted my wife with getting all of our heavy luggage inside theterminal. She waited for me there. I asked directions to the parking deck and off I went. One thing to note, make sure you come out the front of the deck because there are not any elevators in the back. I was on level four so I didn't have any problems with the steps but others could. Also, it will not take you where you need to be to catch the shuttle back to the terminal. I was not the only one that made this mistake, I just followed the others around front and there was a shuttle waiting to carry us back.
My wife thought I was gone a long time but I thought it seemed right quick. You do pay 10 bucks a day for parking. It does seem to be a secure deck. I got off the bus at the terminal door and my wife had completed the first check in. We showed our tickets again, grabbed our carry ons and sent them through the x-ray and walked right up to the final ticket counter. It took about two minutes to check our IDs and passports again, set up our on board account and on to the escalator to board the ship. Stopped to have our pictures taken and walked right on the ship. Oh, by the way, the picture was horrible.
I was really impressed with Millie from the outside and could not wait to see her on the inside. We walked into the Grand Foyer and it really is beautiful. Not glitsy, just classy and elegant. The backlit, Onyx staircase is really impressive and it added even a more dramatic effect to the three-story room. We would spend a lot of our leisurely time in the areas above listening to the piano and the wonderful string quartet that played there almost daily. The Captains Cocktail party was held here just before dinner on the first formal night. I have to tell you that there is not an uncomfortable chair or sofa on the ship.
The chairs in the dining rooms, lounges and even the seats in the Celebrity Theater are very comfortable. The art was thought provoking, even if not in my taste, all of it matched the decor perfectly. The glass elevators were interesting to ride and gave a different view of the ocean. My stomach was a little queasy a couple of times on the ride up. I must admit that. The pool area was nice and pretty much the normal cruise ship pool. The "T" pool as I call it, was enjoyable but the greenery was all artificial. Since it is indoors, it would be good to use in cooler climates or in the evenings. All of the lounges are interesting and have great lighting. We would go listen to music or to have a drink before dinner in one of them every day. The Cosmos lounge is on the front of the ship and is beautiful. What a view from up there! The decor is fascinating!
Larger than we thought it would be and the balcony was our favorite. It was big enough to enjoy and to be able to move around out there. It afforded us spectacular views while in port. Two lounge chairs and a table big enough to sit your drink on were provided. We had cabin 9164 aft. The decor was pretty cruise ship typical, but nice. There was plenty of closet space and a nice desk or dressing table area where my wife put on her makeup. There was a small loveseat and table where we sat in the mornings and had our coffee. Our room steward, Steve was excellent and kept out cabin in tiptop shape. He seemed to be around when we needed him and also knew when we were out. He always provided fresh towels and the bathroom was always clean. We never had to call or ask for anything. Great job Steve! He helped to make our vacation special.
Since I had read mixed reviews concerning dining on Millie, we were eager to find out for ourselves. We wanted to see if the cuisine on Celebrity measured up to their much-tooted reputation. In our opinion it did. All of the food was prepared to our liking and if something was not good it was not due to bad quality, just a bad choice. There were things we liked better than others but it was a matter of personal preference Dining in The Metropolitan was wonderful and our waiter and assistant attended to us in a professional and courteous manner. The presentation was some of the best that I have ever seen. The table was beautifully set and they alternated between a vase of fresh orchids and a candle on formal nights. Our waiter was so good that if you ordered iced tea the first night you had it each additional night. The Sommelier was available if you wanted wine with your meal but never was pushy about it. I never had a glass in the dining room because we would usually go to one of the lounges before dinner and have a drink. I did think the wine list was good even though somewhat pricey for the selections provided. I would have preferred to bring my own because I am picky about the wines I like. Let me tell you that the mushroom bisque was absolutely delicious. My wife liked the cold soups that she tried. I could eat my weight in those crispy breadsticks. We did go to The Olympic and really enjoyed the experience. The food quality was not any better than that in the main dining room but it was worth the additional dollars for the pampering. I had New York Strip prepared tableside and my wife had a veal dish. We both agreed they were excellent. The suggested wines for each course could cost you a fortune. I had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc with my entree that was very good. The Goat Cheese Souffle was terrific, as was my Chocolate Souffle. My wife had the sample platter of Michael Roux desserts that included Crème Broulee, Mint Mousse as well as a few other mini selections. These were all arranged on a plate with a signed Roux chocolate in the center, which was a very nice touch. The cheese course at the end of the meal was fun and I just asked for a sampling of the stronger selections. My wife asked for the milder choices. We then had coffee and they brought us a three-tiered silver tray of assorted chocolates and petit fours. The staff of The Olympic was good but it seemed that they were falling over each other and I noticed a lot of movement that I thought was distracting at times. I did enjoy watching them at work. My wife had her back to most of it and did not notice. I recommend the experience, so go, enjoy and let them pamper you. The buffet in the Ocean grill for Breakfast and Lunch was also very good. For Breakfast, there is nothing that you could possibly want that is not there. A selection of cereals, fruit, cheeses, breads of all kinds to full breakfast fare such as eggs, bacon, sausage and omelet's made to order. Lunch included salads of all kinds, fresh fruits and a different assortment of dishes each day. The Rivera Grill out by the pool served burgers, (the burgers were somewhat dry) great hotdogs and other sandwiches. My wife thought the french-fries were the best she had ever eaten.
On one afternoon we went to Formal Tea in The Metropolitan. Even if you don't enjoy this formal ritual, go at least once. A long table holds all of the food near the entrance to the room as well as an Ice sculpture and the carved fruit animals. After you are seated, each guest is served their own teapot and then you can select your favorite tea from the "Tea Box" as I called it. The little sandwiches are pretty and tasty. I really loved the ones with Shrimp Salad. They actually bring platters of them and let you make your selection. Then comes the dessert cart. The best and I mean best, Strawberry Shortcake I have ever eaten. There are also cheesecakes, tarts and various pastries of all kinds. Informal Tea is also served in the Ocean Grill for those that want to come in their shorts or bathing suits.
Ports of Call:
I am not going to say too much about this. It really does not matter what ship or cruise line you go on. They are going to be the same with any Eastern Caribbean sailing. San Juan has its charm and old world beauty. St. Thomas has great shopping and by far is our favorite Port-of-call on this cruise. Do take the tram ride to Paradise Point as it is worth the fifteen-dollar price for the view it affords. Nassau is Nassau. I can't comment on Catalina Island even though we watched the festivities from our balcony. We did not even leave the ship to go over there. You must tender to the island. I thought it was not very tropical looking and I think the palm trees were planted there to give it a tropical feel. There is not a single palm tree on any of the neighboring islands, that is just my observation. Father Company RCI owns the island. Our dining companions that went said the food was good but the beach was rocky and it was not a great snorkeling site. It was fun to watch the Waverunners and banana riders from the ship.
We thought the entertainment was good and sometimes very good. The first show we did not see but were told it was very good. The second show was entitled Platinum and we both thought it never quite got off the ground. The third production show, Classique, was very well done and I think the voices lended themselves to the numbers better than in the previous show. The Celebrity Dancers were good but not great and the sets and lighting as well as the costumes were very good. The shows for the other evenings consisted of Comedians and a vocalist. We liked them as well. The Celebrity Orchestra was terrific.
Well if anything needs improvement, this is it. Of course the first thing you have to do that morning is go to present yourselves to immigration. Early that morning and I mean early. They start at 6:30 I believe, which is not that bad considering they want you out of your stateroom by 8 a.m. You parade through and each passenger stops briefly to show their identification. When disembarkation begins you basically sit in one of the public areas and wait for your color to be called. (They publish the call order in the ships paper the night before.) The process was fairly smooth and everyone was off the ship within an hour. The problems begin when you leave the terminal. Don't be in a hurry because you will not get out of there quickly. Seas of luggage and passengers waiting for shuttles and the steady stream of taxis caused major traffic jams. Two thousand passengers and also early arriving guest for the next cruise cause a major MESS. Since we had driven down to the port, I had to get back to the mid-port parking garage to get our car and then drive back and pick-up my wife and our luggage. The shuttle could not get in so you stand and wait. I kept thinking that I could walk back to get the car. It is a little further than you think and there are no sidewalks so that idea was quickly forgotten. This is not Celebrity's fault but there has to be a better way. Finally, about an hour later I was able to get back to the terminal and pick up my wife and our luggage.
Did we love the ship? Absolutely. Would we cruise Celebrity again? Definitely! Was the cruise perfect? No, nothing is, but pretty close! Overall it did exceed our expectations in many ways. There were lots of children on this cruise due to Spring Break. I never saw any of them get out of hand and by what I heard they all enjoyed themselves tremendously. They announced that there were 253 on board that week. I had worried about going during this time because of kids being out of school and so forth but it turned out to be fine. My wife and I thought the experience was wonderful. We experienced very few disgruntled people and the ones that were probably just complainers. We did expect a high standard of service and for the most part we got it. All of the crew were very good to us and were always friendly and eager to help you in any way. We never experienced any problems with them at all. Everyone has different expectations of the ship, the cruise line, the crew, food and what matters most to them. There were things that I thought could be worked on but they were just little things. We both talked about the fact that we would like to see more fresh flowers on the ship. There were some, but most of them were silk and in need of replacement. Some of the things that I had read about such as the "vibrations" that are supposedly on Millennium, we never heard. No noise was ever heard from other guests in their stateroom. There were occasional "bumps" from above (we were just under the outside dining area) but they did not bother us. My suggestion, sail this beautiful ship, or one of her sisters, and find out for yourself. Oh, and by the way, get a cabin with a Balcony. It is worth the difference.
Our adventure began Feb.3, 2002--first time on a megaship and first cruise with Celebrity. And this is my first experience doing a review. It'll just be my impressions and perceptions. Bottom line: We had a good time and felt Celebrity did an excellent job.
About UsWe're 59 and 63 y/o married travel junkies from the Midwest. We LOVE exploring this great world of ours. Sometimes we do it by cruising: NCL: Southward-Western Caribbean Ocean Cruise Line: Ocean Princess- Nice to Venice Royal Cruise Line: Crown Odyssey- Spain, Morocco, Canary Islands, Portugal Royal Cruise Line: Crown Odyssey- Scandinavian Capitals and St. Petersburg HAL: Maasdam- Alaska Inside Passage Oberoi: Sheherayar- Nile River-Luxor to Aswan Bergdousolu: 92 ft. Turkish gulet (14 passengers)-6 days along Turkey's Turquoise Coast
In December, the mail kept bringing cruise brochures. A warm, mindless, relaxing get-away began sounding very good. Surfing the Internet, Travelocity had a cruise-only 1C balcony cabin on the Millennium for slightly > 50% off brochure rate. We had heard good things about Celebrity and had never been to any of the ports, so we booked it. Within 8 days we had pre-cruise information and all travel documents from Celebrity confirmingour cabin and dining requests. Later, we booked the one shore excursion we did on Celebrity's website and the tickets were delivered to our cabin.
We booked our own air and hotel and went to FLL a day ahead. Stayed at the Best Western Marina right across the waterway from the port. Their airport shuttle picked us up and our room was pleasant and clean. We had a good dinner there in the outdoor dining area adjacent to the pool where there was music. It's right across the street from the Pier 99 water taxi stop which we meant to do. But after the usual hassle to tie up things at work and home and get out the door, we decided to just crash and relax.
The hotel had a shuttle to the port at 12:45 PM, but we wanted to go earlier and took a cab. Arrived at the pier at 11:30 AM and were onboard in about 10 minutes. Very smooth. They took our departure flight information there so debarkation time could be assigned, saving us having to do that later in the cruise. Good idea. The card received serves multiple purposes: cabin key, onboard charge card, and security card for leaving and re-boarding the ship in ports. It's keyed to your photo via the computer system. We left our carry-ons in the cabin and walked through the ship to the Ocean Cafe for lunch. First impression: Maybe we've made a big mistake. Looks like a hotel, not a ship, and too many people. Happily, we settled into our own routine, didn't feel crowded, and came to appreciate and really enjoy the many beautiful public areas.
A 1C (#7185) port side aft on Vista Deck. We loved it! Very comfortable. Plenty of room and storage with queen-sized bed, sofa, chair, coffee table, etc. The balcony was great with the clear panels below the rail so the view was unobstructed. It was wonderful to sit out there in my bathrobe with morning coffee or lie in bed with the door and drapes open looking at and listening to the sea. We always slept with the door open. The cabin was very quiet. It had a connecting door, but the only time we ever heard our neighbors was when they were on their balconies and we had our door open. Announcements from the bridge are the only ones that go into the cabins, so the only one we heard was for the lifeboat drill. The provided bathrobes were really cozy,comfy material but not as heavy as terry cloth. They left them for use the final night and morning. Big towels for beach use are also provided-replaced as used- and picked up the final evening. Our steward, Phillipe, from India provided friendly, flawless service. The water and ice were great--first on a ship that had no "funny" taste.
Smells wonderful --with soothing New Age music playing and beautiful fresh and permanent flowers. There's a lovely sitting area with wicker furniture just above it. We always enjoy buying flowers from street vendors for cabins or hotel rooms, but since our first day and a half were at sea, we picked out an assortment of flowers for $20 and arranged them in a large glass in our cabin. They were still beautiful as we left the ship.
The Young Duo played good dance music before and after dinner in the Rendezvous Lounge. Ron and Sharon were the dance instructors--very intimidating on the dance floor. But they had dance classes most days and were very personable and made the several classes we attended fun. Cosmos had a larger dance floor, but the room seemed to be used more for bingo and games. There was a DJ late evenings but almost no live music there.
Good cappuccino and amaretto coffee--not free, but very reasonably priced. Frequently had pianist or string quartet playing there. Nice.
Gorgeous, comfortable room.
Online @ Celebrity
Nice having internet access available, but expensive-$0.95/minute.
Great place--so pretty with the teak lounge chairs, trees, and statues. The pool was WONDERFUL--so relaxing, just the right temperature, and never crowded when we were there.
Nice equipment with treadmills facing floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the bow. But not much air stirring. After one time, we opted for walking the outdoor track in the fresh air, sunshine, and breeze.
We had some nice breakfasts, lunches, and afternoon tea there. It always FELT crowded to me because there were always a lot of people there. But, actually, I never waited in line to get a tray. And we always ate on the aft deck where there are lovely teak tables (with umbrellas) and chairs. Magically, there was always a place for us with no waiting.
We had late seating, table 502--in the very back right by the aft window overlooking the captain's table--which was a good location. It didn't seem as closed in as some of the tables we walked past going in. Our waiter was Yunus form Turkey--very conscientious, hard working, and experienced and graciously helped us resurrect our really limited Turkish vocabulary. Assistant waiter was Peter--a cute young cheeky Aussie (our first experience with waitstaff whose native language is English) who had excellent suggestions on menu choices. They, along with the two other very nice couples we shared the table with, made dinners very enjoyable. The first thing I ate there was probably my favorite--wonderful mushrooms in pastry appetizer. We didn't do the Olympic--heard mixed reviews from those who did. Some thought it was outstanding; others thought it took too long and preferred the restaurant food. We meant to try the alternative dining in the Ocean Grill but never got around to it. In hindsight, the night leaving St. Thomas would have been a good time--my least favorite restaurant night.
Had lunch there once--very tasty food.
Absolutely perfect! Had coffee and juice every morning, breakfast twice, pizza once, iced tea numerous times. (I'm originally from the South and I know iced tea, and it was GREAT--first for that on a ship.) The night after San Juan we couldn't face putting our shoes back on, so we ordered from the restaurant menu and everything arrived exactly as ordered at the perfect temperatures. My husband had a complete dinner and I had 2 appetizers, 2 soups, a salad, and that yummy rum raisin ice cream. All delicious!
The shows are sometimes before and sometimes after dinner, which was different. We went to all except one (the night after San Juan). Except for the last night, we really enjoyed them. Thien Fu (Vietnamese comedian/juggler) was a hoot. The production numbers were very good--sets, lighting, music, dancing all well done. I especially loved the Broadway one. I can never get enough of Les Mis.
Non-existent. There were only talks on TV on organized shore excursions and shopping talks about stores with connections with Celebrity.
On two levels with a good, large selection of books.
The outdoor pool area always looked like a mob scene. There were, however, plenty of lounge chairs on the deck above and comfortable padded chairs in quiet areas along Deck 4.
There was a broad range of ages (strollers to wheelchairs) and nationalities ( mostly US, but a lot of Canadians and Brits and a number of people speaking Spanish and German). All seemed to be having a good time, well behaved and considerate.
We walked from the ship to San Cristobal Fort then along the old city walls and water over to El Morro, exploring each one and enjoying the spectacular views from the ramparts. Then we walked through the Old Town, admiring the painted doors and houses with wrought iron balconies and flower boxes, had cappuccino from a kiosk in the central Plaza and visited with some locals. Good afternoon.
After a lazy start, we took the tender to the island and strolled quite a way along the water's edge then found a couple of isolated lounge chairs under some palm trees and relaxed and read for several hours.
Immigration appearance only necessary for non-US citizens now. We did our only shore excursion here--St. Johns National Park Sightseeing. There was a pleasant ferry ride from the pier to St. Johns with narration on the sights we passed. Then a safari bus ride through the island with stops at beautiful beaches and overlooks and the driver pausing to point out interesting plants and trees with wonderful smells and textures. After returning to the St. Thomas pier, we took a shared taxi into town. Ugh! Breathing exhaust fumes in gridlock traffic is not my idea of a tropical island experience. But, we had the driver take us up to Hotel 1829 after dropping the others in the shopping area. Had a drink on the veranda, enjoying the view, explored the upper level Arts and Crafts shop then walked down into town. My crankiness was cured and we enjoyed a nice lunch in an outdoor cafe on a pedestrian-only street and walked along the water back to the ship.
>From the ship, we walked along the shore-front road to Ft. Charlotte and then on the Ardastra Gardens and Zoo and saw the flamingo show. Took a cab back into town and had wonderful conch chowder and fritters on an upper level veranda of a restaurant on one of the shopping streets.
We don't travel to shop. My meager purchases were souvenir spoons for my collection, Del Rey color-change T shirts for the kids, pirate stuff for a grandson, some neat paper doll sets from El Morro with traditional Puerto Rican and Caribbean outfits for a granddaughter, and the "Under the Captain's Table" book onboard. Our dining companions were knowledgeable shoppers and felt they found better bargains on jewelry, etc. in the shops on the ship than in the towns.
Ports with 4-6 huge cruise ships there at once are not great places to be. We really want to do a crossing and will go with QE2 for traditional style and because the big new ships just look too top heavy to me for that. However, for a resort type vacation experience where you can also enjoy being on the sea, we would definitely sail with Celebrity again. They provided a very high quality experience with flawless service. We're thinking another Celebrity cruise would make a great family vacation with the kids and grandkids.
Picture this: You have just returned to your cabin after the "Welcome Aboard" show. It is 10 pm and you step out onto your aft balcony overlooking the ship's wake. You are mesmerized by a dazzling light show of moon beams creating moving geometric patterns and lines on an ocean rippled by the wake of the ship. On past cruises we have observed spectacular scenes of silvery moonlight rays shining brightly on the ship's wake and on the white crests of the ocean waves, but have never seen such a spectacular vision. This is very hard to describe, but it must be a natural phenomenon like the rainbow, where certain conditions exist to make the optical illusion of a waving checkerboard design. This was magical, the half moon shining over the ship's wake was just stunning. What better reason to have booked an aft cabin? And this was only the first half moon of the lunar cycle, so we were anticipating seven evenings of moonlight spectacles. And each night the moon grew bigger and more beautiful, but not as dazzling as the illusion of the first night.
This was our 24th cruisein the past six years. We sailed on the Millennium last January and booked our wedding anniversary cruise this year in the same cabin #8176. Since we enjoyed our first cruise so much, we returned to relive happy days and excellent accommodations, service and food. From the numbers of repeat Celebrity cruisers aboard this ship, it is obvious many others believe, as we do, that Celebrity "exceeds expectations."
Our reunion with old friends, the unforgettably kind Hotel Manager Dimitrios Anagnostou (Greece) and the cosmopolitan Olympic Restaurant Manager Raffaele Bernardini, was mutually warm; moreover, we made a new friend, the interesting Master of the ship-- Captain Michael Karatzas (Greece) -- more about these unique men later.
The Celebrity ships are easily recognized in port, just look for the big "X" (the Greek letter "Chi" symbol of the Chandris family, the original owner and founder of Celebrity). They have navy blue hulls with a gold stripe around the promenade deck and orange life boats. The Millennium's stats are tonnage 91,000, length 964.6 ft., beam 105.6 ft., draft 26.3 ft. and a cruising speed of 24 knots. She was built by Chantiers L'Atlantique, St. Nazaire, France and made her maiden voyage July 2000. Celebrity Cruises has been rated Five Star by Berlitz, and ranks in the top ten cruise lines for service and cuisine (the famous chef Michel Roux oversees the food). The quiet elegance of this ship is kept in exquisite condition under the watchful eyes of Capt. Karatzas and Mr. Anagnostou.
With only one security check point at the entrance of Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, luggage drop off was easy. We filled out a clearance form for the Bahamas and went to the special counter for Captain's Club and were headed toward the elevators in five minutes. On Level 2 a crew member took Vincent's wheelchair and accompanied us aboard. Curbside to cabin in ten minutes, very nice.
After our last cruise on the Carnival Pride, where the extensive decorations by ship designer Joe Farcus overwhelmed us, it was a pleasant return to the sober design of the Millennium. The art work is carefully selected and some of it whimsical, such as a tree picture which seems to be hung upside down, but on close examination it is actually a reflection of a tree in the still waters of a pool. Also on the same Deck 3, near the Grand Foyer is a ceramic bust by Luigi Ontani (Italy) of Christopher Columbus who wears on his head models of his three ships: the "Nina," "Pinta," and the "Santa Maria." But, the cleverest painting is just outside the Casino: It is a very formal looking picture of a group playing cards; the mood is lightened by the eyes of one female player watching a servant to see if she is aiding her opponents in cheating. Throughout the ship there are some "modern art" pieces which remain indecipherable to us, but they may be interesting to others.
Continental Deck 2 is cabins only.
Plaza Deck 3 aft holds the Cinema & Conference Center, midship is the beautiful classic alternative restaurant, the Olympic, with the original walnut paneling from the White Star Liner the Olympic (sister ship to the ill fated Titanic). There is also the original Wine Cellar from the Olympic and a fantastic collection of famous wines. You must make a reservation immediately when boarding, if you wait until mid cruise you may not get one. See the Manager Raffaele for a night you will always remember (more later). Midship is the Grand Foyer with the Guest relations Desk, and the Glass Elevators overlooking the ocean; then there are cabins; and forward is the main floor of the Celebrity Theater with its sofa seats, very nice and comfortable. Its walls are made lovely with torch like illumination.
Promenade Deck 4 has the lower level of the Metropolitan Restaurant and the Rendez Vous Lounge with its dance floor. Midship is the second level of the Grand Foyer with a lighted gold onyx staircase to Deck 5 and the Cova Cafe`. Next is the Fortunes Casino with the classical Greek statues of women with water urns and huge murals of lovely ladies in bucolic settings. Very nice. Then forward is Michael's Club -- a genteel cigar smokers' refuge. Finally, there is the second tier of the Celebrity Theater.
Entertainment Deck 5 aft has the upper level of the Metropolitan Restaurant where we dined early seating at table #525 over looking the Grand Staircase and the lower level with the Captain's table (more about this later). Midship is the beautiful Platinum Club with unique crystal lights and royal purple upholstered chairs and a Champagne Bar with huge urns holding chilling bottles. Walk forward and enter the Grand Foyer and the Cova Cafe` di Milano (reminiscent of the real Cova Pasticceria-Confetteria founded in 1817 across from the famous La Scala Opera House, Milan, Italy). This is the best place to people watch, while having exquisite coffees, teas, cocktails and the finest desserts. Don't miss it. We ran into the Hotel Manager Dimitrios and Captain Karatzas here among others.
Penthouse Deck 6, Vista Deck 7, Panorama Deck 8 and Sky Deck 9 are all cabins, mostly with verandas.
Resort Deck 10 aft has the Ocean Grille and the Ocean Cafe` both serving great food (individually prepared pastas, sushi, an oriental buffet and Pizza from 3 pm to 7 pm and 10 pm to 1 am (hours that we wished were expanded, since first seating dinner would be ruined by pizza that late, how about 11 am to 7 pm?). Eating at the buffet was made pleasant by the linen place mats on the trays, quick assistance with waiters carrying trays and assisting with drinks. This is where a passenger notes how helpful the crew is. Try navigating a buffet in a wheelchair, believe us, it's not easy. Many times we avoid this way of dining, but not on the Millennium, here we enjoyed it. Midship on Deck 10 is the Riviera Pool and hot tubs; forward is the Aqua Spa with its two whirlpools and salt water therapy lap pool surrounded by teak wood chaise lounges and privacy glass walls. All the way forward is the Thermarium and finally the Gym with aerobic and cardiovascular equipment.
Sunrise Deck 11 aft holds "Ship Mates Fun Factory" and the Arcade for the younger cruisers. For the athletic and sports fans there are the Golf Simulators, the Jogging Track and the Extreme Sports Bar with large screen TVs. Here can be found Tom Shannon's (USA) painted fiber glass figures, "Climber," "Fly & Dive," "Snowboarder," etc. and in the stairwell is the "Summer Green" chandelier by Dale Chihuly, a lime green amazing work of blown glass. The Mast Bar, and Aquadome are also on Deck 11. Forward is the Cosmos Night Club with a beautiful 270 degree view of the sea ahead. The interiors match the outside of the ship: Navy Blue and Gold. There is a lighted polished metal dance floor and circular bar with a lighted polished metal space dome. The ceiling sports lighted sea gulls: Fantastic!
Sports Deck 12 has rest of the sports areas: an open deck area and the basketball court.
We chose the same cabin #8176 as last year, since it is so spacious (538 sq. ft. including balcony). When entering on the left there is a huge bathroom with safety rails. Then there is a queen bed, two night stands with lamps, a love seat and glass coffee table. On the right there is a mirrored wall and a triple wardrobe: The first two sections have hangers and the next section holds eight drawers and the personal safe. There is a lighted vanity/desk with two more cupboards. The far wall is glassed with a sliding door to the huge veranda with two chairs, a table and two chaise lounges. by far an excellent reason to book the aft cabins is this extraordinary balcony overlooking the ship's wake. Our cabin stewardess Maria was phenomenal, always smiling and everything in order. This is the only ship that does not remove the complimentary robes the night before debarkation. The butler Paul (India) delivered fresh fruit daily, High Tea at 4 pm and Canapes at 5 and always pleasantly smiling. The credit for the impeccable condition of the staterooms must also be given to the supervision of the capable Chief Housekeeper Georgios Dimakareas (Greece) and his watchful assistant Nilde.
FOOD & SERVICE
The Metropolitan Restaurant serves the unique recipes of the culinary master Michel Roux under the direction of the very young and serious about food Executive Chef Christophe Belin (France). Restaurant Manager Zbigniew Ludwicki (Poland) orchestrates the wonderful service and Asst. Maitre d' Zbigniew Warchol (Poland) is vigilant of his waiters. Our waiter Dragan (Croatia) and Asst. Waiter Walter Paz (Honduras) were fast, flawless and friendly. This restaurant, unlike many others on ships, was always full for the dinners were events. Imagine serving upwards of 9,000 meals per day and all so delicious!
Some of the more memorable dishes were as follows: Appetizers, such as shrimp cocktail, prosciutto with melon and mushroom Pate` Confit. Breads were excellent especially the breadsticks served daily (the fennel seeded ones were the best). There was a nice variety of both hot and cold soups. Salads were interesting and Caesar salad was always available. Entrees included excellent veal, beef, chicken and don't miss the rack of lamb or the stuffed quail (a light bread and giblet stuffing). Our compliments to the chef. Celebrity is one of the few lines to still have sommeliers in the dining rooms; this is a plus for Vincent who drinks wine with his meals.
We enjoyed dinner at the beautifully decorated Captain's table (a centerpiece of cymbidium orchids as lovely as the single rose that the Captain gave each lady at the dinner): Escargot, Pate` Confit, Carolina soup, Tornados of Beef au jus, Petit Fours and two wines, a dry white and a medium body red. Captain Karatzas is a delightful host and Mary, seated next to him, was happy to engage in conversation about the ship, safety (which he cannot stress enough), and world events (on which he is well versed) and of course his beloved home Athens, Greece. He is "an Officer and a Gentleman" and imparts confidence to the passengers as Master of this marvelous ship.
The only thing that can rival dinner at the Captain's Table is dining at the Olympic. This restaurant oozes atmosphere with the beautiful walnut paneling with its festoons of gold gilt. In this formal ambiance, we dined on a meal selected personally by our friend the Manager Raffaele Bernardini: Vincent's shrimp were prepared table side with arugula and Balsamic vinegar -- a culinary experience; Mary's Russian Salad was superb. Just when you think nothing can top this -- the desserts do: moist chocolate Souffle, no tiny tid bit, but large enough to serve two. Dinner is topped off with a tiered tray of petit fours. Ah, memories are made of this! Raffaele has trained his staff personally and the service is impeccable. Don't miss this opportunity. You may never dine like this at sea again.
The twenty-four hour room service is quick and extensive. We had a full breakfast served in our cabin every morning. And this is the first time we had continental breakfast served in the cabin on the morning of debarkation.
Cruise Director Eric Bohus, also an excellent tenor, is the friendliest person on board. He organized a series of activities that were bound to keep cruisers engaged: Library Trivia (of which we each won one) Team Trivia, Bingo (jackpots over $1,000) Bridge, Computer Class, Darts, Shuffleboard, Table Tennis, Movies, Golf putting, and the evening shows. Show time was on a par with other lines, but noteworthy was dancer Meisha Lee featured in several numbers. Headliner Thien Fu, juggler/comedian, was funny and the married team of Shirley Harmer and Beni Mason were great in their imitation of Louis Prima and Keeley Smith.
Around the ship various entertainers were excellent: The Enigma String Quartet who played in the foyer and nightly in the dining room; Melanie the harpist performed in the Cova; however, most enjoyable were the "Young Duo" Gianni and Gabriella who played nightly in the Rendez Vous Lounge Deck 4. This was always crowded, but, they could also be seen and heard from the balcony above in the Platinum Club.
Social Hostesses Katrina Crow and Sarah Van Pevenage were very friendly and busy, busy, busy looking after everyone. Thanks so much.
This cruise is one we won't forget easily for the many friends we revisited and the many new ones we made. We were sad to say farewell to Dimitrios Anagnostou who made our cruise so memorable; we shall return to Celebrity soon.
PORTS OF CALL
San Juan, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Arrival: 1 pm. Departure: 8 pm. The following are some of the shore excursions offered by Celebrity:
1. Old & New City Tour, 2 1/2 hrs. Very nice with a stop at San Cristobal Fortress and down town shopping time ($23).
2. Rain Forest Full Day (with lunch and swimming), 6 to 7 hrs. ($58).
3. City Tour and Bacardi Rum Distillery, 4 hrs. ($26).
Catalina Island, Dominican Republic, Wednesday, Arrival: 7 am. Departure: 5 pm. In addition to the beautiful beach and barbecue hosted by the ship's crew on this private island, the following are some of the excursions:
1. Altos De Chavon Village and Folk Show, 4 hrs. ($46).
2. Horseback Riding at Casa De Campo, 4 hrs. ($72).
3. Kayak Adventure on the Chavon River, 4 hrs. ($72).
St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, Thursday, Arrival: 8 am. Departure: 6 pm. Shopping is the best here. Don't forget the best linens for the best prices at Mr. Tablecloth. This is an obligatory stop for Mary. Many tours are offered by the ship. Some of them are listed here:
1. Island Sights Tour, 3 hrs. A must for the first time ($34).
2. Island Drive and Coral World, a visit to the Underwater Observatory and Marine Park, 3 hrs. ($41).
3. St. John Safari/Snorkeling, a bus ride through the Rockefeller's U.S. National Park to Trunk Bay, beach combing, sunbathing and snorkeling, 4 hrs. ($48). Other tours and activities offered on St. Thomas include scuba, beach, Kon-tiki Party Boat, sea plane and helicopter tours, kayaking, biking, sky ride to Paradise Point, etc. which can be purchased at the Excursion Desk or arranged individually.
Nassau, Bahamas, Saturday, Arrival: 12 noon. Departure: 6 pm.
1. Nassau & Paradise Island Tour, 2 hrs. ($22). This is interesting for first timers.
2. Seaworld Explorer Glass Bottom Boat, a tour of the Underwater Marine Park at Athol Island, 1 1/2 hrs. ($42).
3. Blackbeards Cay Beach Break, a relaxing time on this beautiful beach with chair and drink included, 3 hrs. ($21).
Vincent had wheelchair assistance from the Grand Foyer to the luggage pickup. A porter took our luggage curb side, where we met our daughter-in-law Paige who drove us home by 9:30 am.
After such a great cruise there is very little to suggest for improvement. This is one of very few ships which offer drinkable (odor-free) water in dining rooms and staterooms. One of the frequent complaints we have made in our cruise reviews has been the chlorine taste of drinking water, ice cubes and beverages aboard most of the ships. We also have found the pasta in the dining room and at the Ocean Grill to be palatable, even though not al dente, it was not gluey or overcooked. We have not tried the pizza, but we were told by others that it was good. The complaint for the pizza was the serving hours (3:00 pm to 7:00 pm), too short compared to other cruise lines. The following are some minor points which, in our opinion, would make this one of the best valued cruise in the competitive market of this industry:
1. Make the pizza hours longer; some cruise lines have pizza available as long as 24 hours.
2. Have crew members curb side to help with wheelchairs for embarkation.
3. Let cruisers know about the "Dialysis at Sea" program. There may be people who feel they cannot travel because of their kidney disease and this program could be just what they need. We met a cruiser using the dialysis aboard. She was on her second cruise and very happy with this opportunity.
With the sweet memories of this cruise we are looking forward to two others which we have booked for the near future: one to South America on the Norwegian Dream, March 3rd, mainly for the very interesting itinerary (Patagonia, the Falkland Islands, the Strait of Magellan and the Chilean Fjords) and the next on the Costa Atlantica, April 7th, to revisit this beautiful ship, a floating art museum. Happy Cruising!