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Sail Date: December 2007
This was our 4th cruise and our 2nd TransAtlantic, all with Celebrity. We have previously sailed on Galaxy and Infinity. We have always traveled with our 2 children, currently 11 & 12 years of age, and another family member, this time ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise and our 2nd TransAtlantic, all with Celebrity. We have previously sailed on Galaxy and Infinity. We have always traveled with our 2 children, currently 11 & 12 years of age, and another family member, this time our sister-in-law. This was her 1st cruise. We stayed in Barcelona for 2 nights pre-cruise, arranged on our own. Our hotel was the Hotel Continental, which was the only hotel that would let us have 4 people in one room. The room actually turned out to be 2 bedrooms and 1 1/2 baths, and besides being quite quaint, it was very sufficient for us. My sister-in-law had her own room directly across the hall from us. There were quite a few Millennium cruisers at this hotel, as well as a number of cruisers from other lines as well. It was conveniently located, only a stone's throw from Plaza Cataluna and right on Las Ramblas. The staff at the hotel were very friendly and helpful, and they provided free drinks, including soft drinks and beer, and a variety of "snack food" options 24 hour a day. Our stay in Barcelona included visits to Montserrat, La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and the Picasso museum. We used the "HOHO", or hop-on, hop-off bus for sight-seeing one day, which proved to be very useful. We used a private taxi service for transportation to the port for embarkation, and it was extremely reasonable for 5 people and about 20 pieces of luggage. Yes, we still have not learned how to pack after 4 cruises! The taxi service was very prompt, arriving when they told us they would, and the driver took care of all the luggage. We arrived at the pier mid-afternoon and boarding was very easy and quick. Our rooms, 7199 ( a corner aft family view ) and 7195 ( CC ), were ready so we dropped off our carry-ons. Both rooms were clean and had the "new bedding", and the flowers in the CC room appeared to be fresh, as did the fruit. The Millennium was in excellent shape, very clean, with friendly staff. There appeared to be fewer staff than we were used to on our previous cruises, and we did hear a rumor that the staff had been cut significantly before the ship left Barcelona. Whether that is true or not, I do not know, but from our experience, it seems likely that it is. The dining room staff and the stateroom attendants seemed to be quite busy all the time, with more tables and rooms than they could comfortably handle. Unfortunately, this did affect the "exceptional" service they were able to provide to their assigned tables/rooms. Saying this, most people we spoke to concerning this matter still felt, as did we, that the service was adequate, but maybe not up to par with what we have come to know Celebrity to be able to deliver. The food in the dining room was pretty much what we were used to with Celebrity, and that is great. We were at a table of 12, so the dishes varied each night, and the majority of people at our table were satisfied, with a few exceptions. I found the Maitre'd to be very helpful, and he took care of our daily requests always with a smile. The food at the buffet seemed to be good as well. I usually frequented the sandwich station when I could tolerate the line. We did dine in the speciality restaurant twice - once for a special occasion, and then again because we enjoyed it the first time so much. The team we had on our first evening was outstanding. Everything was perfect. There were eleven of us on this evening dining together and no one had a single complaint. When we returned on our second visit there, we had the other team. While still good, they just didn't seem to be as synchronized as the other team. Our water and wine glasses were allowed to become empty and stay that way for some time......which shouldn't happen when you are paying extra for the exceptional service. Even the food preparation was a little lacking on the second night. After 4 cruises with Celebrity, I still had not tried the Cova croissants, so I decided this time to do so. They are simply out of this world fantastic. My fellow Cruise Critic members may not appreciate me saying this, but you must try them! They are limited in quantity, so get there early!!! The staff at the Cova were excellent. Very attentive and eager to please. We did not attend any of the production shows, as we find them all to be the same from ship to ship. We did a backstage tour, and the production manager even commented that the shows have not really been changed in 7 years. She sited cost as the main reason. Our fellow Cruise Critic friends who did attend the shows enjoyed them, especially the non-production ones, such as the comic and female singer. The only ship board activities we participated in were trivia and the art auctions. The staff was very interactive with the passengers, and really tried hard to entertain and please everyone. I heard quite a few grumblings about how Celebrity is handling the prizes for the daily trivia games. No one really seems to like the "passport" stamp mode of gaining prizes. The art auctions were predictable at best. We did use Celebrity shore excursions this cruise. We prefer to arrange our own tours, as we find them to be more personable and adaptable to what we actually want to do, and we can move along at our own pace. However, with the dollar falling fast in Europe, Celebrity tours were simply our best option. The tours we did were the Alhambra Palace, Seville on your own, Best of Lanzorote, and the LaPalma wine and volcano tour. I think one of the guides may have been a bit tipsy, as he slurred his words and would drink wine every time we stopped. Overall, the tours were good and affordable. Our children LOVED the Fun Factory. We loved the care and attention our children received from the Fun Factory. I don't know how they do it, but they keep the children busy all day long. My children are "clingy" to me, and I have to say, they didn't seem to remember me during the normal operating hours of the Fun Factory. I can't praise this service enough. Disembarkation was at best, a nightmare. Complete and utter chaos. I don't know who dropped the ball in this department, but they should be hung by the toenails. There was more pushing, shoving, hitting, and yelling than at a WWE wrestling event. I don't know why there would only be 2 buses ready to transport over 1000+ people, but that's all there was. We missed our flight, even though we were off this ship in plenty of time to make it. We stood outside for almost 2 hours waiting for the chaos to end, but it was non-stop. Our luggage was trampled and carried away like some teenager at a punk rock concert. Note to self: do not use Celebrity transfers in Fort Lauderdale again. Enough said. The absolutely best thing about this cruise was the fellow Cruise Critic members we met up with on board the Millennium. We were over 160 members on board this sailing. Freida, the on board Events Coordinator was very helpful and accommodating to our group. Thanks for all you did, Freida. Celebrity provided us with a meeting place twice, and we made our own arranged meetings many times over. It was so nice to be able to walk around a ship the size of Millennium and see some one you knew. Many times we would simply stop in the middle of a hall and have long conversations there. I cannot emphasize the impact Cruise Critic had on making this our best cruise yet. We were sailing with 4 other couples we had previously met on another cruise thanks to CC, and now we are all trying to arrange a reunion cruise for our even larger group! Overall, this was a very enjoyable cruise. Millennium proved to be as nice a ship as the other Celebrity vessels we had previously sailed on. The staffing situation seemed to cause a few snags for some of our fellow cruisers, but none of it really bothered us. Hey we're on a cruise, how bad can it be?? Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
Here is a very long review of our recent experience on the Millennium TA, which sailed from Barcelona on 12/2 and visited Malaga, Cadiz, Lanzarote, La Palma, and Labadee before arriving in Fort Lauderdale. We are a semi-retired couple ... Read More
Here is a very long review of our recent experience on the Millennium TA, which sailed from Barcelona on 12/2 and visited Malaga, Cadiz, Lanzarote, La Palma, and Labadee before arriving in Fort Lauderdale. We are a semi-retired couple who have taken many cruises (this was my 21st). It was, however, our first Transatlantic cruise and we both looked forward to the luxury of nine sea days including five in a row crossing the Atlantic with 25 hour days as we headed West. As my husband said mid-way through the cruise in response to the question of whether or not he was having a good time, "if you can't have a good time on a cruise like this, there's something wrong with you." So, for the record, we had a very good time. Embarkation We embarked in Barcelona and found the experience quick and easy. There was no line and no delay of any kind, so we were on the ship within minutes of arriving at the port around noon. A glass of champagne greeted us in the lobby and we were handed notices indicating that the cabins would be available after 1 p.m. We headed for the pool deck where we found some lounges in the shade and parked the hand luggage until the rooms were finished. I made a reservation for the Specialty Restaurant, bought soda cards, signed up for six Yoga sessions and purchased a pass for the Persian Gardens. By that time the rooms were ready and we went down a deck to our cabin... a great start! Cabin We had originally booked a balcony on deck eight, but moved to deck nine in order to have a CC cabin for the same price (summer sale). I had some misgivings about the location (under the pool deck area), but didn't have many choices left when we moved up. As it turned out, this cabin (9078) had pluses and minuses. The plus was that it was so conveniently situated for the buffet, the pool and the spa. Most days the noise factor came into play when they stacked the lounges around 6-7 p.m. Since we were either in the Spa at that time or getting ready for dinner, it didn't really make that much difference, although you could certainly hear the thuds overhead. The one night I found really annoying was after the deck party when they stacked the lounges (which means they threw them one on top of the other and made a racket) at 1:55 a.m. (I know the time because they woke me up and I checked to see!). I do wonder why Celebrity positioned CC cabins in this area. For the future, I would think it better to put premium cabins in quieter locations (should anyone from Celebrity read this review). The cabin was equipped with standard Celebrity furnishings (new beds with rounded corners (but a metal piece in the middle that can clip your shins if you're not careful!), a couch, desk/vanity and chair, small table, and sufficient storage space for both of us. The beds were very comfortable and we slept well throughout the cruise. We had a regular balcony which contained a small table and two chairs. The bathroom was very small, but contained everything we needed and sufficient storage space. It also had nice-smelling lotion and shampoo/conditioner which were replaced throughout the cruise. CC cabins come with Frette robes and Frette towels (which are ridged). For the record, I prefer the waffle robes which are lighter (and used one from the spa the entire cruise) and the regular towels, but I know some people like these CC perks better than I do. Others have commented on the need for refurbishment on the Millie. For the record, our cabin was fine except for a hole in the desk chair. This didn't present any problems, but was noticeable. I found service for this cabin to be perplexing. Most of the time the service was fine. The room was cleaned well. The towels were resupplied. Manuel, who made up the bathroom was helpful, cheerful, and efficient. The room service breakfast was delivered on time, we requested cheese and crackers instead of the (awful!) pre-dinner snacks given to CC cabins and the cheese and crackers were there every day, and we were always greeted with a smile. There were, however, some oddities. We had two hangers in the closet with clips and needed a few more. I politely asked for two more on the first day and it took two days and a call to the CC number to get them (that really surprised me!) Also, there were no flowers in the cabin (another CC perk). The flowers showed up later that night (I asked about them when I called about the hangers) although they didn't last for two weeks and we went flower-less again for the last three or four days of the cruise... don't know if that was typical of other cabins. Not a big deal except that is one of the reasons for moving to CC and is a nice touch when they're there. Another odd incident occurred near the end of the cruise and this one is very much Celebrity's fault. We had no beach towels in our cabin since we were going Transatlantic and certainly didn't need them until we got to Labadee - our beach day. Since they weren't in the cabin I imagined they would be at the place where we picked up the tenders, but when I went down there, there were no towels, although some people said they had been delivered to their cabins. As a result, I had to go all the way upstairs to the pool deck to get some towels to take to the beach. When I asked the cabin attendant about this later in the day, he said it was my responsibility to ask him for the towels the day before! All of this could have been avoided if Celebrity had put a notice in the Daily about where to obtain towels, but it was my fault??? Finally, on the last day I expected the gratuity voucher envelope in the cabin (we prepaid them on our cruise card but usually receive vouchers to hand out when you thank the staff for their service). A call to reception and two conversations with the cabin attendant finally yielded a set of vouchers -- again this was a first in my experience. (At this point you might think it had to do with the size of the tip, but I had actually given him more than the recommended amount). On other cruises I have had better service in the lowest level of cabin so why the level of service for a CC cabin on this ship was lower, I never did figure out, but it is an issue Celebrity should address. In general, service on the ship was excellent. As is the norm on Celebrity, staff people throughout the ship routinely greet passengers and go way above and beyond to be helpful. Bar staff, wait staff in the dining room and the buffet, spa staff, cleaning staff, front desk staff, and even repairmen were friendly, cheerful, and helpful. The Ship As indicated elsewhere, the Millennium is overdue for a carpeting and upholstery overhaul. Stains were apparent throughout the ship on the carpeting, but I was told the new carpets were actually on board and about to be installed when we arrived in Florida, so by now this issue should be moot. All of the C Class and M Class Celebrity ships are well designed with lovely areas for dining, relaxing, and generally enjoying your cruise. The Millennium is no exception. I prefer the artwork on some of the other ships (okay, I admit Century is my favorite), and the pottery that predominates on this ship is strange, but stairways and public areas are attractive and well maintained. I particularly like the two-level dining room and the theatre. These spaces are lovely and both functional and comfortable. Also wonderful is the Thalassotherapy Pool, which we used most days. I decided to give the Persian Gardens a chance on this trip (with 14 days I figured maybe I could benefit from the eucalyptus vapors and perhaps I could get to like the steam baths), so I purchased a pass and made it a habit to use the T pool and the Persian Gardens most days before getting ready for late seating. What I do find odd is that the entrance to the Persian Gardens is near the entrance to the Men's Dressing Room and a long walk around to the Ladies' Dressing Room - definitely could have been better designed! Nonetheless, I enjoyed the spa experience and met many very friendly and pleasant people in the hot tubs, steam rooms and the sauna. Dining One of the reasons we select Celebrity for many of our cruises is the food. I think the new menus in the dining room are a "work in progress." On the whole, many of the dishes were familiar and most of the meals were quite good, but there are issues. As is usually the case, the beef dishes were particularly enjoyable and consistently excellent. When you order rare beef, it comes rare... a fact which I appreciate. One problem is that there are some nights when it's difficult to choose because so many dishes are appealing and other nights when I had difficulty finding an entrEe I wanted to eat. I actually chose pasta dishes as entrees for dinner three times on this cruise - something I've never done before. I asked the Assistant Maitre D about the inconsistency of the menus and he said he had noticed this too and didn't know why they weren't all well balanced. I had Prime Rib twice and it was good both times. Other entrees I enjoyed were Tournedos Rossini and Filet Mignon. The duck was okay and the Lamb Chops were edible, but not great. The worst entrEe I had was the Chicken Kiev on the last night - definitely not like any Chicken Kiev I've ever had and a meal I would hope to never have again! Dinner salads were consistently good. Soup on Celebrity is hit or miss (I used to really enjoy the cream soups on RCCL and I love the cold soups on NCL). The best soup I had on this cruise was the Black Bean (lunch in the dining room) with the Captain's Fish Bisque a close second. The worst was the Boston Clam Chowder. Despite having fewer choices the dinner desserts were quite good... lots of chocolate choices, which makes me happy. The only disappointing dessert was the "Floating Islands." Oeufs a la neige is usually a wonderful dessert, but the one that appeared on our table wasn't very good. Dining room service was excellent. Our wait person, Daniella, was a jewel - very knowledgeable and helpful when consulted... very professional in demeanor and efficient in getting the right food to the right person quickly. She always asked us if we liked our food and offered to get us something different if we didn't. I also enjoyed visiting with her in the buffet during lunch, where she always had a smile and a positive outlook. Our bar waiter, Mike, was fabulous - we had soda cards and he made sure we had plenty of diet coke every night. One disappointment on this cruise was the menu selection in the dining room for lunch. Celebrity seems to have done away with dining room service on port days and from the offerings on this cruise, it appears that they aren't devoting much effort to lunch in general. I have never found such poor choices for lunch before... and twice ended up selecting a cheeseburger (that's how weak the other choices were!). The buffet was also puzzling. The entrees ranged in quality - best was fish and chips. The pasta station was generally good. Pizza was ok. The soup/sandwich/French fry station was a popular choice every day and by the end of the cruise I was eating sandwiches for lunch in the buffet (also a first for me!). What I really liked were the Indian selections, but for some reason they were only available some days and not others. I would recommend that they have the Indian buffet section open every day. Also, it would be nice if they added mango chutney and raitha to the condiments. A big plus was Michael, the waiter who staffed this area and always had a big smile - a great guy! The grill also needs improvement. Two years ago we sailed on Century and they offered fried chicken, ribs, onion rings and other goodies at the grill every day. On this ship it was hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries and one special dish each day and I didn't see much more than this... definitely cutting back on the food budget, but on a 14 day Transatlantic such meager selections shouldn't be tolerated. We didn't eat in the Spa Cafe, but I walked through several times to take a look and the salads and other items on display looked good. I have eaten in Spa Cafes on other ships, but since we usually met friends in the buffet, this wasn't a good option this time. Breakfast in the buffet was fine... we were so close to the buffet and it was so good, that we didn't bother going to the dining room for breakfast. After several days of overeating in the buffet we began to order room service breakfast. The CC breakfast menu really is the main reason to go CC (if the price is right). It's worth ordering just to get the fresh squeezed orange juice (too bad that isn't available elsewhere!) Ordering room service breakfast and then eating it on the balcony was a great way to start the day. We ended up with just raisin bran, fresh fruit, juice and hot chocolate...a real treat and not nearly as fattening as going to the buffet or the dining room. Tried the waffles for a Saturday treat They were good, but for some reason I remember them as bigger (thicker) and better on the Century... maybe they were or maybe it's just my imagination. Dinner in the Specialty Olympic Restaurant was wonderful. This is one area Celebrity has gotten right. The food was delicious and the service made the evening memorable. Thanks to Giovanni for his wonderful service and to Moustaffa, who handled the cheese course with such expertise and courtesy. Tony was a delightful host and the harp music of Anna Lisa Underhay also made the occasion special. The Olympic is also a beautiful space on this ship and eating a meal here is highly recommended. Activities Yoga was terrific. I wanted an introduction and both instructors were great at varying the difficulty level so beginners and more advanced practitioners could all participate. Classes were offered at 9 a.m., but getting up with all the time changes wasn't really a problem. Bingo on Celebrity has gone way downhill. I used to love to go to all the Bingo sessions, but on this ship I often voted with my feet (stayed away). There used to be five games and now there are four. The dollar amount of the prizes on this sailing was minimal. Raffle prizes were skimpy as well. They often had a Bingo game in the theater between shows - I hate this practice. The serious Bingo players (this might be an oxymoron, but yes, I think there are serious cruise bingo players and count myself among them!) should be able to play a full set of Bingo, not a single game that is rushed because dinner is about to begin. I especially didn't like the fact that they had the final jackpot game as a singleton between the shows. This event deserved to be part of a full set and should have taken place in the afternoon of the last sea day. That's usually the game where the other games have big payouts (because of the crowd there for the jackpot) and Celebrity has found a good way to maximize their Bingo earnings and minimize payouts for players. They have become so cheap that they don't even have small prizes for players (e.g. key rings or lanyards). On RCCL they once gave out a tee shirt to people who played bingo a certain number of times. That was a good strategy for encouraging people to play. Also, most of the time the Bingo session was focused on the life of the Bingo "Queen" and in-jokes between activities staff. People do not go to Bingo for this! Sometimes people would say, "just call the numbers!" Plus, what happened to the free cruise giveaway?? If Bingo was bad, the casino was worse. I have never been on a ship with a more miserly casino, so if gambling is your thing, this cruise wouldn't be very satisfying. I find the tight slots perplexing. If they loosened the slots a little bit, many more people would be in the casino (often empty on this cruise) and like me, most players would give back what they "won." So I think looser machines would yield more money for Celebrity and, at the same time, be more entertaining. Entertainment This is another area where you can really see the cutbacks. We were surprised to find that some nights showtime was very "thin," and one night there was no show at all - NO SHOW AT ALL??? (They claimed the Newlywed Game was the Show!) Even on a very cheap Greek cruise with no theater they had a show every night! Fourteen nights and no comedian? No magician? No acrobats? A few years ago I went on a one-week Celebrity cruise with more entertainment than we had on the 14 nights of this cruise. The two high points were the artistry of Brooks Aehron (a terrific pianist and storyteller) and the soprano, Jennifer Fair. They each did two concerts one at night and one in the afternoon and both of them were excellent. The orchestra was on stage every night and they were excellent with kudos to the pianist - now there's a performer who could have done a terrific concert for us! The rest of the entertainment was mediocre at best and included only three production shows. This ship had been doing two weeks cruises all summer. Celebrity should have provided more production shows. We also found the sound system and the level of "loudness" in the theater problematic. Way too loud! Because the orchestra played (loud!), the soloists all had to sing over them and the result was not beautiful music. Everything was also overmiked...if they turned down the sound system, everyone would sound better. Some people enjoyed the lectures, but I was surprised that the first week it was either gossip about famous entertainers (dead and therefore not able to defend themselves) and a group singing class. I had somehow expected at least a few topics with more intellectual heft. Another disappointment was the Cinema. On the flight to Barcelona we had a choice of many recently released DVD's...lots of good movies. On the ship the movies on offer (both in the Cinema and on the TV) were ancient and generally unappealing.. Also, we had the new flat screen TV in the CC Cabin on the Century last year. They haven't been installed on the Millie CC's- not sure if there is a plan to put them in, but they should. I think Cruise Director Lisa did a good job as CD, but the entertainment budget appeared to be insufficient. This was especially true because many people on board were doing a back-to-back and were on the ship for 28 nights. We all deserved better. Itinerary/Ports The itinerary for this cruise was very good. I enjoyed every port and loved the stop at Labadee - the best beach I have ever seen in the Caribbean! In general port stops were handled well... easy off... and easy on. My one complaint pertains to Malaga. Celebrity has decided that an easy $20 can be made from each couple on the ship by charging for a shuttle bus from the ship to the entrance to the port at this stop. This is not a shuttle bus that goes to town (which Celebrity used to provide free in the not too distant past) but a shuttle to simply get out of the port! This is the same sort of bus that is provided free in Barbados and many other ports where the dock is far from the entrance. Such charges are, in my opinion, a form of robbery and Celebrity should refund every passenger who paid for this bus so they could, in effect, get off the ship. What will be next... Charges for tenders??? Nickel and diming is epidemic on this cruise line and many others, but charging to get out of the port should not be part of this practice on Celebrity or any other cruise line. Debarkation For us, this was almost as easy as embarkation. We were given beige tags, exchanged them for brown tags (we were in no hurry), were assigned to wait in the Cinema, and went there after a leisurely breakfast in the buffet. There was a delay in starting the debarkation process (probably due to the fact that it was a Sunday in Fort Lauderdale and there were eight or nine ships in port). When they called our color, we walked off, claimed our luggage and went out to the crowded area in front of the terminal. One of our tablemates had given me the very useful information that rental car agency shuttle buses would circulate outside the terminal. We simply asked where to find these buses, waited for one to appear, and hopped on. For others, debarkation was a nightmare (I'm told not enough buses for those with transfer tickets and a general free-for-all for the not enough taxis (because of the number of ships). I know several people had difficulty catching their flights. After reading the above, I find there are more negatives than I expected. I am an X fan and have been on eight cruises on Celebrity dating back to 1996. I hope the quality of the Celebrity product on this ship is not part of a downward trend and that future cruises will demonstrate that this cruise, for whatever reason, was an anomaly. Overall, I loved this cruise. That's because it's hard to beat a 14 day cruise with beautiful weather in calm seas with a great group of sailing companions. I have read the review of the Century transatlantic and it sounds as if the "rude" passengers took that cruise. Our cruising companions were wonderful... a very good mix of Europeans and Americans from many different states. Every day we met lovely people all over the ship and enjoyed chatting with them. I joined the Roll Call for this sailing last summer and have never been part of a more active and friendly Roll Call. For months we got to know one another, had tee shirts made up and mailed out, organized a gift exchange, had dinner together in Barcelona prior to embarkation and did a fun tour in Malaga with rental vans. Once on board we got together four times (two formal CC gatherings, a sailaway get-together, and a group photograph on the last formal night - thanks to Donna for organizing most of these!). We also had lovely parties thanks to the hospitality of Donna and Justin, Will and Carol, and George and MaryBeth. I hope we get to sail with many of our new friends again in the future... it was truly a great group? I'm sorry if this review was too long, but it was a 14 day cruise and there was a lot to report. I hope it is helpful, and I hope Celebrity is paying attention to its loyal cruisers! Please feel free to ask questions and I'll do my best to answer them. Happy Sailing! Linda Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
We had a great time on the Trans Atlantic cruise and I will gladly go again and again. That said, let me qualify the above statement by saying that I will gladly go again and again as long as it isn't on Millennium, and as long as we ... Read More
We had a great time on the Trans Atlantic cruise and I will gladly go again and again. That said, let me qualify the above statement by saying that I will gladly go again and again as long as it isn't on Millennium, and as long as we get to cruise with our Cruise Critic friends. Don't get the wrong impression. Millennium wasn't bad, but it was inconsistent. When compared with our cruise aboard Infinity, last March, it just couldn't compare. That being said, I will attempt to review Millennium on its own merits, and keep my comparisons to Infinity to a minimum. This was our fifth cruise, second Celebrity cruise and first Trans Atlantic cruise. If you've never done a sea-days intensive cruise then you don't know what you're missing. I heard many people saying how glad they were when we reached Labadee, so they could finally get off the ship after five days at sea, but I wasn't one of them. I thought the five days was a good start, but wished we could have another five days. SEA DAYS ARE WONDERFUL! I digress, so back to the beginning. We began our Trans Atlantic adventure with a flight from Portland, OR. I'm mentioning the flight for a couple of reasons. First, our flight took us to Fort Lauderdale, by way of Chicago, and it was the best flight I've ever had in and out of Chicago. The Southwest flight crew was top-notch, and the landing in Chicago was so smooth that even the flight attendants were unaware that we were landing. They thought we were still a few hundred feet off the ground when I said, "Wheels down," a split second before we touched down. Second, we were blessed with the opportunity to hear Howard Putnam, former Southwest president, speak a couple of times while crossing the Atlantic. We left Portland a few days early, and spent a couple of relatively uneventful days in Miami. Our flight from Miami to Barcelona, with a layover in Madrid, was arranged by Celebrity. I thought it kind of quirky that Celebrity had us getting off a flight in Madrid that was going on to Barcelona, but later learned that everyone got off the plane in Madrid, and that the continuing flight of the same number was aboard a different aircraft. We were delayed for more than 2 hours in Miami, because the Iberia Airlines flight was short one crew member, but that only meant that we had more time to get to know some other Trans Atlantic cruisers on our flight. It also meant that we would only have to spend 2 1/2 hours in Madrid, rather than the expected 4 1/4 hours. We finally arrived in Barcelona, about 5 minutes earlier than expected, got our luggage and passed right through customs. I'm not sure why some people have problems with this part of their trip, but in my many trips in and out of the country I've never been inconvenienced. We met with the Celebrity representative and other than some worry when one of my pieces of luggage was left alone on a cart after all of the others were sent on, the transfer from the airport to the pier was a huge success. We got there about three minutes earlier than I anticipated and boarded the ship immediately, at 2:30 p.m. The one piece of luggage that was orphaned at the airport was delayed an extra couple of hours, but did show up shortly before dinner. If you read other reviews, you will note a discrepancy here. When we arrived at our cabin, #2132, we found that it didn't have the new bedding. In fact, the bedding in our cabin was well worn, and the bed cover was stained. Also, we didn't receive the mattress topper we had requested, thus making our bed feel like two twin beds shoved together. We got the mattress topper on our Infinity cruise, and the difference was noticeable. Other than the bedding problem, we were satisfied with our room, which was otherwise as expected. We did go directly to Guest Relations, after boarding the ship, and requested that the contents of the refrigerator, and in fact all alcohol, was removed from our cabin and it was gone before dinner. Millennium appeared to be a bit worn, and this confused me because I had read comments of others who had recently cruised on this ship and said that it had been upgraded. In fact, it looked like a ship that was more than seven years old. Our cabin attendant was OK, but not nearly up to the expectations that my previous four cruises lead me to expect. Others have mentioned that it appeared that there had been a staff reduction. This was noticeable in the cabin attention. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great. We ate dinner in the Metropolitan dining room every night except the second, when we joined our entire table (11 of us) at the Olympic Restaurant. The rumored staffing reduction was observed in the dining room, and the service seem rushed and very detached. This comparison is in direct contrast to our experience aboard Infinity. It appeared that our Waiter and Asst. Waiter had to handle at least 35 percent more people on Millennium. Our food was good, but it does appear that recent changes at the top have affected the available selection. That said, I think the dining room experience is still one of my favorite parts of cruising, and to that end I do enjoy Celebrity. One thing I could do without is the whole Baked Alaska parade. One thing I don't want to do without is the opportunity to dress on formal nights. It is nice to dress for the occasion, and I appreciate the effort that people aboard Celebrity ships put into their costumes. Our visit to the Olympic Restaurant was enjoyable, but I must admit that it didn't do much for me. I know, those of you who know me will understand, but for the rest of you I must explain. I never (as in not ever) pay $30 a person to dine out, and my experience in the Olympic Restaurant was indicative of why. I can't appreciate a $30 (actually more if you consider that we'd already paid for a perfectly good dinner in the Metropolitan dining room) meal, because too many things that don't appeal to me are part of the cost. We had a nice time, enjoyed the wonderful company of our Cruise Critic friends, but neither I, nor my wife would want to dine there again. Considering the experience of our table mates the second time they visited, I'm not so sure they found it to be worth it, but I'll leave that to them. We enjoyed the variety of food served at the Casual Dining Boulevard, the Ocean Cafe and the Riviera Grill. The AquaSpa Cafe was good for the first half of the cruise, but the hours were suddenly and seriously curtailed the second half. Waffles were always welcome, but even the waffle station was suddenly moved, without notice, at the beginning of the second week. I want my waffles, so I persisted and found that the waffle station was moved from the Ocean Cafe to the Riviera Grill. Other than visiting with friends, we never enjoyed the many delights of the Cova Cafe. Based upon their enjoyment, I must recommend that you seek out the almond, chocolate and chocolate/almond croissants. You don't actually have to buy an over-priced coffee drink to enjoy them, but if you're into that sort of thing... I don't drink coffee, so you can take my previous comment accordingly. We enjoy going to the shows, especially the production shows, and never tire of the extravaganza. They all tend to be the same, they are not Broadway or Las Vegas, but in general they are energetic and fun. Also, at one hour they aren't too long. In addition to the production shows, I particularly appreciated the singing of Jennifer Fair. I applaud the fact that we got to enjoy her performance three times. In addition, the Adage Duo Roberto and Dorota were incredible. My wife attended the art auctions and found them to be long and tedious. Unless you have something specific in mind, have done your research, and know what you're doing, I suggest that you steer clear of buying art aboard a cruise ship. The free champagne and free artwork may make it worth your while, but remember: That is a few hours of your cruise that you'll never get back. As has been the case with most of our previous cruises, we chose not to do any tours. We joined a group of Cruise Critic friends and did our own tour in Malaga, but chose to just wander about, on our own, at each of the other ports. Disembarkation was the usual, that is until people tried to get a bus to the airport. I find it interesting that we aren't given the opportunity to rate disembarkation when filing this review. I think it is best to arrange your own transportation in Fort Lauderdale because Celebrity doesn't seem to have a handle on how to move nearly 1000 people from the ship to the airport without causing major problems. I believe there were only two buses to handle all of the people and the problems that ensued could only be describe as chaotic. If Celebrity offers to provide transportation from Port Everglades, your best response is to just say, "No." Others have said it, and more are still likely to add similar words, but if you want to make a cruise into the best experience possible then you need to join the Roll Call for your particular cruise and get to know people. Millennium was OK, the food was good, the sea days were wonderful, but the friends we communicated with on our Roll Call, and then visited with aboard ship and in the various ports made the cruise a delight. I would welcome the opportunity to name these wonderful people, but there were so many and everywhere we turned, on the ship or on the land, we were greeted with the friendly faces of Cruise Critic friends. You might think it crazy, but my wife and I had barely crossed the gangway when we were greeted by a couple we'd never physically met. They recognized us from our picture on the Roll Call for our cruise. Moments later another couple greeted us, saying they too recognized us from our picture on the Roll Call. I can't emphasize just how much more gratifying your cruise experience will be if you join and participate with the many people who will be cruising with you, by way of the Cruise Critic boards. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2007
We have just returned from a wonderful cruise on the Millennium starting in Barcelona and visiting Villefranche for Nice and Monte Carlo, Livorno for Florence,Pisa or Pompeii, Civitavecchia for Rome (two days), Naples for Capri and ... Read More
We have just returned from a wonderful cruise on the Millennium starting in Barcelona and visiting Villefranche for Nice and Monte Carlo, Livorno for Florence,Pisa or Pompeii, Civitavecchia for Rome (two days), Naples for Capri and Sorrento, Athens, Istanbul (two days), Mykonos and Santorini, before reaching Venice. Living in the middle of London we had a taxi to Victoria station before catching the Gatwick Express to the airport. Then it was just a very quick flight to Barcelona and immediate embarkation - all as smooth as clockwork. We found our stateroom (7066), and the whole ship, to be immaculate. We had read before we cruised that the ship is looking tired. I looked very carefully and truly, the only signs I could see of any aging were that some of the chair coverings in the cafe on deck 10 were worn. Apart from that, everything sparkles and gleams. The weather everywhere until Athens was cool (jacket required) but sunny. From Athens onwards things warmed up and Mykonos and Santorini were tee shirt and shorts weather. We did experience a force 8 gale when approaching Istanbul in the Dardanelles and although the sound of the wind on our balcony doors was terrible, the ship hardly moved. Maybe some of you saw that a number of cargo ships were wrecked in the Black Sea at this time. Millennium, of course, never went through to the Black Sea but we were on the brink in Istanbul. We had a fabulous time and only took the X two day tour in Istanbul - excellent value and spread nicely over the two days - afternoon the first day and then from 9.30am - 4pm on the second day. It was a wonderful way to see an awful lot in comfort. The Topkapi Palace, Agia Sofia and the Blue Mosque were the outstanding features. In Villefranche we walked to Nice! We were out for a walk along the coast road, spotted a fort on a hill and climbed towards it. We missed it but enjoyed a beautiful walk and then spotted a beautiful bay below and discovered that it was Nice, so walked there. Only took about 1.5hrs. We caught a bus back. A mere euro or two and for that you could travel a very long way. In Livorno, we just walked around the town and found it to have a really good, interesting market and canals absolutely full of small boats. We did head off to Rome on the local train - easy journey of about an hour and a bit. Alighted at St Peter's station and walked just a very short distance to St Peter's Square, which was fabulous - no queues at this time of year so had a good look round St Peter's and climbed to the very highest cupola - not for the faint hearted. You can go to the first cupola by stairs or lift but the highest cupola can only be reached by steep stairs which become smaller with no handrails and sloping walls. There weren't any signs explaining this, and it was impossible to retreat so do be aware. We walked on through Rome to the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. We had a fantastic day and have vowed to return to Rome. In Naples we went on the ferry, which is right next to where the ship docks,to Capri. A ride of about 40 minutes. You then need to take either the cable car or a bus up to Capri town, on top of the hill. It was so cold, though sunny. Lots of top designer shops, if you like shopping. As my husband is half Greek we visited family in Athens. Istanbul I have already mentioned above. Mykonos were two places to wind down a little -sunshine, slower pace etc. We have been to Venice before and love it but this time just went straight to the airport for the flight home. The Ship For all those who have heard that Millennium is looking shabby, I was delighted to find that it was not at all the case. Our stateroom had new carpets, curtains, bedding and nothing appeared to be showing much wear. The bathroom had no mould (as others have found). If I had to find anything it was that the net curtains had been trapped in the balcony door at some time and they could be replaced. All the furniture was good. The public areas were in good shape. The spa and thelassotherapy pools were our favorite areas. Ideal for winter holidays when outdoor pools are pretty useless. The food was all very good - not as good as many years ago (1996 on the Horizon) but nothing to complain about and a lot to praise. My only little gripe was that one meat dish and the lobster were too salty, but that might be just a personal preference. We didn't eat at the special Olympic restaurant - tried it on the Summit and for the price difference wasn't worth it. Nice to do it once though. Entertainment all day and evening long - very varied and something for everyone. Not just the usual production singers and dancers, who were very talented, but a super Adage duo - incredible aerial act, opera lecturers/performer, classical piano concerts, comedy/magician, dance classes, quizzes etc. There was a great mix of people on the ship. We were in a definite minority as Brits, and our dining table comprised Americans, Australian, Austrian too. Made for some good conversations. There was quite a Spanish contingency too. It is what a European cruise is all about. We returned home thoroughly relaxed, having enjoyed another great time with Celebrity and today have booked to sail on Constellation to the Baltics next May. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2007
Cruise Review Celebrity Millennium November 4-November 18, 2007 14 Day Mediterranean: Barcelona-Venice This was our first cruise and an ambitious one of 14 days. It was also our first vacation to Europe. We are in our 50's and have ... Read More
Cruise Review Celebrity Millennium November 4-November 18, 2007 14 Day Mediterranean: Barcelona-Venice This was our first cruise and an ambitious one of 14 days. It was also our first vacation to Europe. We are in our 50's and have traveled mostly in the United States. We spent 2 full days in Barcelona before the cruise and 3 days in Venice, post cruise. The decision to take a cruise was based on many recommendations from travel sites, that a European cruise was the best value with a declining dollar. The Celebrity line was selected because of the ports, its ratings as the best of the mid range cruise ships and its reputation for very good to excellent food. The Millennium did not disappoint. We did not go on the cruise with other couples, however, we met a number of persons on line that became our cruise mates throughout the cruise. The secret is CruiseCritic.com and joining the roll call for one's cruise. Security We took the advice of many posts on how to carry valuables. We purchased a PacSaf pouchsafe 100 neck pouch for both of us. It is designed to wear inside of your shirt or blouse. We both kept a copy of our passport, ship ID, credit cards and large denomination Euros in it. We kept a wallet with only 10-20 euros and maybe a one day bus pass. My wife used a PacSaf AntiTheft Sling shoulder bag. In it was an ID, small amounts of euros, lipstick and tissue. We never had any problems and it worked perfectly. We did hear several stories of passengers having wallets stolen in ports. Language I can converse in Spanish reasonably well, although I would not use the term fluent. I did buy a phrase book and spent six weeks learning key phrases in Italian. I found the ability to request things in Spanish and Italian( and often would fill in Spanish words when I did not know the Italian word) was invaluable. I frequently was treated differently than others who did not attempt the lingua franca. Learning to say simple things such as please and thank you, or a simple greeting, goes a long way in showing respect. Airlines We used American Airlines with connecting flights in Spain with Iberia and in Italy with Alitalia. We packed with guidance from others and divided our clothes, some on our carry on and some in each others luggage. In fact, all of our luggage made it just fine. Our flights were on time in spite of some weather problems, with one understandable delay in Chicago due to sleet. The airplane food was pretty adequate and we had no complaints. Our biggest problem was of our own doing, when one of our bags was 12 pounds over the 50lb limit. AA allowed us to redistribute the weight to avoid the overcharge. We ended buying a collapsible bag in Turkey for all our souvenirs and better weight distribution. Just one note about Duty Free shops. We were considering purchasing olive oil and wine in the DF store in Rome and bringing it back on our carry on. We fortunately did not and are glad we did not. If one has a connecting flight after returning to your US entry airport, you have to go through security again. The liquids would have to be left behind for the benefit of the clean up staff but not the air traveler. The Millennium Starting with boarding in Barcelona, we had read the ships website and CC posts and determined that we were allowed to bring on board, only at the beginning, two bottles of wine which we did have. There was a sign at the baggage check in that said no alcohol. After a little confusion we ignored the sign and had my carry on scanned with the wine and no problem. To make it even more interesting there was a liquor store where you could buy any of the so called prohibited alcohol, just prior to boarding the ship. Most amusing. The check-in was smooth otherwise. We had a cabin with an ocean view on the third or Plaza deck. Having a window was a good choice and useful both at night and coming into ports. The cabin steward was excellent with great service and very personable. We were assigned the late dining which was a very late start @ 8:45, much later than we usually eat. However, we did adjust and spaced our time accordingly. We did tend to miss any dancing or shows because of it. We did go to the Main or formal dining every evening and main dining for lunches on the three sea days. The sit down breakfasts and lunches were quite leisurely. We found the informal or cafeteria dining much too congested. We thoroughly enjoyed the service and the food choices were frequently excellent. We say this coming from New Orleans, where our food expectations are high. Appetizers, soups entrees and deserts choices made for many memorable meals. Other food choices, that we enjoyed, were a healthy breakfast bar(Aqua Spa Cafe) and the sushi bar in the late afternoon. The entertainment was secondary on this cruise because of all the tours. However, there were a few programs that were excellent including a toast to Broadway, some opera arias and a piano program. Ship Amenities- The Thalasotherapy pool(no charge) which is a large hot, salt water pool was one of our favorite daily events. It was especially welcome after a long day of tours. Another surprise was that the ship stores would have sales of items frequently found in the ports of call. On several occasions the items were less expensive than the local markets. They did prove to be a bargain. There were three seminars on wine tasting that we attended that were most informative and well worth the cost of $10 for each. At Sea We very much welcomed the 3 sea days to recoup from all the touring. We had patches for seasickness but never needed them. The boat would roll on the open waters but neither of us got nauseated. Although in higher seas you might have to grab the hand rail on the stairs. Ports of Call In spite of the challenge of this being our first trip to Europe and our first cruise, we opted to do all our own planning for the ports of call. We did not use the ships tours with one exception in Rome and toured on our own, joined other small groups or contracted tours on our own. I think the ships tours can be a pretty good value since you are paying in $ and often include lunches. However, we found that independent tours gave us more flexibility, more individualized attention and on several occasions, became significantly cheaper. The secret to success was detailed planning, for this cruise it was about 4-5 months of effort. Most of it was spent researching tour guides, destinations and comments from other cruisers on Cruise Critic. Barcelona We spent two full days in Barcelona and enjoyed it immensely. We stayed at the Banys Oriental Hotel(129E) in the Old Quarter of the city. The hotel like most of Barcelona will have an old exterior with ultra-modern furnishings in black and chrome. Highly recommended. It was very nicely located and this section of town is quite charming. Architecture was similar to the New Orleans French Quarter( which is really Spanish). Lots of great tapas bars such as Taller Tapas and Sagardi. Both were reasonable and excellent food, great Rioja wine and Sangria. We also found the best gelato in Europe in this area. The nearby Picasso museum was overwhelming in the amount of works. Also nearby was the Chocolate Museum which was also entertaining. The Ramblas is also worth a lot of time. One of the highlights is the La Bouqeria or market place. It is one of the great markets of the world with lots of fresh produce, meat and candies. We used the on/off doubledecker Turista bus, however we needed to supplement with public transportation. The lines for the Turista bus at Placa Catalunya were sometimes an hour or more wait, so we sometimes took the wonderful Metro to a site and picked up the Turista bus at a later stop. This was supposed to be the off season but the crowds were pretty large. Taking both the full ride around town on the red and blue Turista line allowed us to appreciate the varied architecture in Barcelona. One footnote for bargain shoppers, a true flea market is at the Glories stop on the red line Metro. It is only on Saturday and it ends about 4pm. We got there late and were disappointed that we could not take advantage. . It is in a somewhat isolated area and you will have to follow fellow shoppers around an overgrown park to reach it. Barcelona is a young vibrant city and worth a return trip. Villefranche, Nice and Eze Village The first port required tenders to reach Villefranche. Once on shore we located the bus station(about 15 minutes) which was an up hill climb behind and above the Citadel. It was a short wait and a 20 minute ride to the Main bus station (Gare Routiere)in Nice. This is also very close to the old quarter of Nice and the flower market. My inadequate French did not hinder things for us because the bus station had the bus routes(I have copies of these) and the next departure time on the electronic bulletin board, Because of the timing we opted to transfer to the bus to Eze Village. The total cost per person one way to Eze was a couple of Euros. The ride to Eze on the public bus was spectacular with great views of the Med. Eze Village is a wonderfully quaint medieval town on the top of a small mountain overlooking the Med. We first stopped at Galimard Perfumeur and received a personal tour of how perfume is made. It is the oldest in France. The climb up to Eze Village is quite nice and there is pleasant sky garden at the top for 5 E with great views. We only had time for a quick lunch in Vieux or old Nice. Wonderful spot for a sidewalk cafe a crepe, a quiche, an Eclair and some wine. Again the architecture was a cross between Caribbean and New Orleans French Quarter. Narrow streets and lots of quaint shops. Villefranche is also a very lovely town with narrow streets and great architecture and worth time as well . Lovely views of the harbor especially while sitting in a bistro with a cappuccino. Firenze(Florence) The ship docks at Livorno approximately 1.5 hours from Firenze. We used Tuscany Tours with Paola Migliorini(www.florencetour.com). We worked the details out with Steve and Sandy and went with a group of 8. We were met fairly promptly at the port in Livornio at 8:00am by Paola's husband Giuseppi. This was a little bit of a surprise because Paola had reassured us she would be the guide. We had selected her because of great reviews of her because she was an art historian. That was one criticism of her from other CC bloggers that she sometimes contracts out to others. In spite of this we felt good to have Giuseppi who provided enormous information on the 1.5 hour ride to Florence on architecture, wine making, and what is made in each town. He restores the old homes and is also a consultant on winemaking. Quite a combo. Giuseppi took us on some of the back roads to Firenze through the Tuscany countryside. We had arranged with Paola to make reservations at the La Accademia museum and this was very important for time. This way we were able to see Michelangelo's David and his stone slaves which are equally impressive without waiting in lines. Giusseppi turned us over to professional guide Virginia Girolami at the La Accademia museo and she gave us an in depth tour and great insight into both the David and the marble slaves of Michelangelo. Virginia also brought us on a a tour of the main sections of Florence to include the Cathedral/Duomo, the Baptistery and the Ponte Vecchio. Guiseppi picked us up and brought to a park overlooking Firenze with great vistas of the city. Firenze and its Renaissance art and architecture was magnificent. Pisa After leaving Firenze, Giuseppi made a short stop in Pisa to see the leaning Bell Tower as well as the Baptistery and the Cathedral. Pisa was the great city prior to Firenze and it show its glory well. It is quaint enough to deserve a return visit. We were able to return to our ship about 5:30 after a very excellent tour. Roma(Rome) The ship docks in Civitavecchia, which is about a 1.5 hour train or 2 hour bus ride to Roma. There is a free shuttle that brings passengers from the ship to the edge of the port area. The train station is about a 15 minute walk from the shuttle drop off area. The round trip ticket was 9E and that also included the Metro and buses in Roma. An incredible bargain! The trains run about every 30 minutes, are quite comfortable and are very efficient. The trains, except an express, make a number of stops prior to the primary stop at the main terminal in Roma(Stazione Termini) and same for the return to Civitavecchia. The one drawback is if a train strike occurs which happened on our 2nd day in Roma. There are fewer trains and more congestion. We opted to take the ship's Rome on Your Own Bus because of the uncertainty. However, some braved the trains during the strike and made out just fine. One note, be sure to validate your train ticket on the day you use it. Citta Del Vaticano(Vatican City) Piazzo S Pietro(St Peters Square) is one of the stops on the train from Civitavecchia. It puts one out on the west side of Vatican City. So we had to walk along the walls until we came to St Petes Square. The Vatican can be a full day and we made it so. One great bit of CC advice was to get advance tickets for the Vatican Museum with a Vatican guide. You have to fax this request to the Vatican in advance and they confirm with a fax back to you. This prepaid 23E charge was a bargain because the guide was excellent but more important you go right to the head of the line and show the guards your fax. When you pass several thousand people in line, you realized this piece of paper was almost as valuable as your passport. The Vatican Museum has so many magnificent works of art that it would take weeks to fully appreciate it all. The guide does not take you into the Sistine Chapel(which is at the end of the tour), but does give plenty of detail about what is there. Scavi Tour We requested and were very lucky to receive approval for the Scavi Tour. Scavi means excavation and it is a separate tour that goes underneath the St Peter's Basilica to what is generally accepted as the grave of Peter, the apostle and first Pope. This excavation initially took place in the late 1930's but has been kept very low key until recent times. The Vatican is built upon the original burial ground of the Roman aristocracy. The excavation goes down to these early Roman family mausoleums and the original street of those times. It was a very unique experience which culminates in a brief viewing of the bones of Peter. The tour is obtained by an email or Fax to the Vatican Scavi Office. On the day we went there was only one English speaking tour for 15 persons. So its very limited. We ended our day by touring the Basilica of St Peter,. the largest church in the world. It has many incredible sights but foremost is Michelangelo's La Pieta. We ended our day with a short bite of pizza and cappuccino in a small bistro a few blocks away from the Vatican. It, like most bistros we ate at, were very local, reasonable and satisfying. From there we caught the Metro(subway) during rush hour to the Stazione Termini( train Station). The Metro was crowded but efficient, very attractive and easy to use. At the Stazione the marquee had one train that said Civitavecchia on bin(track) 15, but we had known from the CC posts it was supposed to be on Bin 25-28. We resisted getting on the closer train and went to Bin 26, a very long walk, and noticed many other familiar cruisers waiting for the train. The train on Bin15, which two of our friends took ended up in the wrong city. Roma II As stated earlier, because of the train strike we opted to take the Millennium' Rome on your own tour. This took longer than the train to get to Rome, but gave us 6 hours and piece of mind that we could not miss the boat with a ships tour. We were let off around the corner from St Peter's. We bought tickets for the on/off Tram bus. We were able to purchase them right on the bus, which stops at St Peters. We got off at Trevi Fountain, which is truly spectacular. We knew that it was the biggest pickpocket spot in Roma but there were more Polizi there then anywhere else we visited. After another light lunch and gelato we grabbed the Tram bus and headed to the Colosseo(coliseum) and Roman Forum. We also visited the Palatine Hills the location of the homes of the Roman aristocracy. The Forum area is quite extensive and might have been wise to have used a guide. Buying the combo tickets for everything at the Forum was helpful. At the Coliseum we did opt to use a licensed professional guide. This was a late decision and could have been a little cheaper by adding to the combo ticket. The guide was very informative but instead of 45 minutes it turned into 1.5 hours and we had to leave early. The ride through the rest of the Tram route back to the Vatican was very relaxing and enjoyable with many magnificent sights. Another wonderful day in Roma. A word about the transportation strike. There was also a demonstration which disrupted traffic significantly in the center of Rome. The Tram bus actually charged a slight discount from the usual fare because everything was taking longer. Another observation, watching the Vespas and small cars maneuver in heavy traffic was a sight to behold. The Vespas frequently looked like bees in a disturbed bee hive. Roma was intoxicating. Napoli( Naples) We joined a tour with some other cruisers with Italy Limousine (www.italylimousine.com). We were met at the port by our driver, Reno, who spirited us away through Naples and towards Pompeii. Reno was charming and the first of what the ladies described as eye candy, but more of a driver than tour guide. We frequently had to request info on sights on the ride to Pompeii. The next surprise was that we had requested Italy Limousine for a specific guide. This was to be Enzo, one mentioned in CC posts, and a well respected authority on Pompeii. We were informed that he was recovering from eye surgery and could not come. Instead, his son Sasha, Eye Candy II, poked his head into our van and he said he also could not be our guide because he was already committed.( which ended up being another of our small groups from the ship) Instead, he said we would have the Archeologist guide us. By this time we were getting a little concerned, but Giuseppi, Eye Candy III, introduces himself to our group of skeptics. As we learned over time, Giuseppi or Pepi was a ringer. He was a pupil of our original guide Enzo, but also the youngest PhD in archeology @ Oxford University. He was also a guest lecturer @ Oxford and Columbia University on Pompeii. Although we could not confirm this, his knowledge and enthusiasm of Pompeii was profound and kept our attention for hours. Guiseppi made Pompeii come alive and our appreciation of this incredible site was appreciably enriched. He also adapted himself to the pace of our group which had folks from their 50s to their 80s. A comment about persons with special needs; being in a small group that is more responsive to individual needs may be critical for a successful and enjoyable tour. We noticed a few persons falling behind in one of the 40 person ship's tours and felt they did not enjoy the sight completely. Guiseppi did not have a website or a card, but if available he could be requested from Italy Limousine. We reluctantly had to leave Pompeii, which is quite large and could easily take a full day. Amalfi Coast The second part of our day with Italy Limousine was our drive along the Amalfi Coast. This was through Sorrento to the town of Positano and Ravello. The Amalfi Coast drive is truly one of the most scenic drives in the world with spectacular views of the Mediterranean from the high cliffs above. As one drives along these narrow cliff hanging roads along the coast, we appreciated the skills of our driver Reno that much more. Driving along here is simply not a possibility for most people. Frequently the road is only 1.5 lanes in width and lots of curves. Many olive trees and citrus in the area. We picked up some lemon flavored olive oil here. After a light lunch in Positano, we headed to the mountain top town of Ravello. It is a very quaint setting and known for its pottery. We spent maybe only 45 minutes here but this was enough, and our energy level was waning. We concluded the day with a ride around the side of the mountain back to Naples and our ship. However, we did still get several good views of Mt Vesuvius before the day ended. The weather was also spectacular with incredibly blue skies all day. A truly memorable day. Athens We arrived @ the port of Piraeus, which is 25-30 minutes from Athens. We had confirmed a private tour for 4 persons with Spiros(www.athenstaxi.net) He picked us promptly at the dock @7:30 in his Mercedes taxi. Spiros is from Greece but spent many years in New York so his English is excellent. He provided lots of commentary about all that we saw. The first major stop was the Acropolis with the Parthenon and the Temple of Athena. Great views, since the Acropolis is on a very high plain overlooking the city. Spiros provided us guide books to take with us for all the sights we visited. We also visited a site the apostle Paul used to preach to the Athenians, as well as the beautiful Theatre of Dionysius. Spiros brought us to the all marble Olympic stadium, the great temple of Zeus, the Roman and Greek Agoras(the ancient offices), and then to the great National Archeological Museum, which holds many of the historical treasures of Greece. Spiros took us to a very local taverna with great food and no tourists. We finished the day with a baklava and strolling on the Plaka (the old shopping area) and a viewing of the changing of the guard. We would highly recommend Spiros, he is quite reasonable and very professional. Istanbul Coming up the Bosphorus to the city of Istanbul, is a very memorable experience, especially as you view all the mosques and minaret's. Istanbul was clearly the most mysterious and exotic cities on our cruise. Because of the recent US House Committee resolution on Armenian genocide and continuing problems with addressing the Kurds on the Iraqi border, there was more than a little apprehension. However, our visit was quite memorable and worthy of a return. The people went out of their way to be friendly, especially many of the school children we encountered on our tours. They were probably better ambassadors for their country then we adults were for ours. Some of the most haunting memories are the call to prayer 5 times during the day, which is done by a live muezzin for each mosque. For our tours of the city, I contracted with Murat Gurer (http://www.guideforistanbul.com) who was highly recommended by CC users. He was a super guide and very reasonable. We had 10 persons that joined us on the tour. Murat had a separate driver in a very comfortable small bus. The ship was delayed by 2 ½ hours so we did not arrive until mid-afternoon. Murat took us to the Blue Mosque, most impressive, and then to the Grand Bazaar. As seems to be a part of all Istanbul tours, Murat brought us to one rug dealer, who had an excellent reputation, but provided the pitch for Turkish rugs. One in our party did buy a lovely rug, but I did not want to spend time on rugs, because I need hours for rug shopping. The bazaar had the sights and smells of all that we think of in an exotic place. We did buy lots of gifts. Istanbul II Murat met us very early and we headed directly to the Spice Market. We were able to purchase some spices such as saffron, cinnamon, and pilaf seasoning, but the smells were incredible. We also bought some Turkish delights that were enjoyed back home. They also have other dealers such as in the Grand Bazaar but on a smaller scale. Murat took us to a number of other marvelous sights in old Constantinople including the Topkopi Palace. This magnificent palace of the Sultan, including the Harem and living areas was something to behold. We also visited the beautiful Hagia Sophia, which was once a Christian cathedral, then a Mosque in the 15th century and now a museum. Later we went to the Underground Cistern, which is truly beautiful. After a quick lunch in a local restaurant, we headed to the foreign neighborhoods near the Orient Express Hotel which was very European. Murat suggested we do this rather than going into Eastern Istanbul, because of the lost 2.5 hours. It was very unique and few tourists. We would strongly recommend Murat as a tour guide for any group. He gave us many insights into Istanbul that no mere tour could provide. Istanbul is right on the edge of major changes with 50% of the population under age 25. Mykonos We tendered to the island of Mykonos. After so much intense sightseeing the Greek islands were a welcome change of pace. We chose not to do any tours but just wander through the town and take in the sights. The Aegean Sea was beautiful blue as was the sky and some of the domes. The narrow alleys, whitewashed homes and interesting people made for a perfect day. Mykonos was an enchanting place. With a carafe of wine, a Greek salad and view of the Aegean Sea, Life is Good! There are lots of great sights as well with Little Venice, the Windmills, and an immense number of Greek Orthodox churches. The walking was quite leisurely and we will certainly return to Mykonos. Santorini We tendered to the port of Fira. The town of Fira is some 750'+ above the port. We took the vernacular to make it to the top. Great views on the way. We opted to take a public bus to the town of Oia on the tip of the island. The hardest part was finding the bus station in Fira. The fare was all of 1.4E each way. The long ride along the high ridge gave a beautiful view of the island and the Aegean Sea. It was yet another cloudless day. Oia is a small village with great view of the Aegean, blue domes, whitewashed homes and lots of donkeys to carry the loads up the steep steps. A great place to spend time and catch the sunsets. We headed back to Fira and had a lovely lunch at the Zafora Restaurant. Another great Greek salad and a great white Santorini wine, but the view of the Aegea was incredible. The town of Fira has great views of the Aegean, but does not have the ambiance of Mykonos or Oia. We opted to walk the 750 steps down to the port and it was actually quite doable. The views on the way down were magnificent. For both Islands a single long or short sleeve shirt was sufficient. Venezia(Venice) The ship pulled into Venice while it was still dark and it was quite beautiful. We were able to negotiate an early departure from the ship. There was no official transportation into Venice from the ship. A transport brought us from ship to the Port building. At the port we learned that there was a service that would transport each piece of luggage for 5E to ones hotel. We took advantage and then located another transport that did drive us from the port to the Piazza Roma, where we took a Vaporetta to our hotel. ( this free transport did have the Millennium on its marquee, but the ship never mentioned it). Thus for a price of 6E each for the Vaporetti and 10 E for the baggage we were able to get to our hotel. The other option was a water taxi at between 100-150E. The weather was in the mid 30's and misting for our first day in Venice. It did warm up some on the first day possibly into the low 50s. We spent a total of 3 days in Venice. Two nights we stayed at a small hotel in Venice and the third night was spent in the town of Mestre, a suburb of Venice but closer to the airport. The hotel was the Locanda Fiorita, which was closest to the Piazza Santo Stefano and the Saint Angelo Vaporetto stop. It was half the cost of the other lodging(129E), wonderfully located away from the heavy tourist areas and a short 15-20 minute walk to Piazza San Marco, or Rialto Bridge, or the Accademia. The room had lots of Venetian charm and a nice breakfast of croissants, juice and cappuccino. The Piazza Santo Stefano had several moderately priced trattorias, which we visited and enjoyed immensely. We visited the La Accademia museum after a light lunch, which had many religious works of art from the Renaissance. The cold weather and a long day called for an early turn in. Venezia II We started our day with a wonderful walk to the Piazza San Marco. It was very sparsely crowded that morning. It was chilly but a very clear day. We met our friend from the Millennium, Steve and Sandy and picked up a combination ticket for the Doges Palace at the Museo Correr-no wait. We headed to the Doges Palace which was overwhelming.-magnificent architecture and artwork. There is so much there that it could easily take more than the 2.5 hours we spent. It is comparable to the Vatican museum in its scope. We did spend some time in the Museo Correr which also had many works of art. We concluded the first half of the day by spending some time in the Basilica of San Marco. It is a magnificent building and the views from the upper floors are really special. It is also worth the extra euros to take the short tour behind the altar with the tomb of Santo Marco and the incredible gold altar. The famous Bronze Horses are there as well as a balcony view of the Piazza. After regrouping at lunch we headed to the Rialto Bridge and some shopping. One surprise was that prices along the Rialto Bridge market were actually cheaper than other cities we visited, including the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. We ended the touring part of our day by taking a gondola ride with the four of us. The total was 80E for about 40 minutes, but in sum it was well worth it. Our gondolier was third generation and although only 25, he knew plenty about the city. We also timed it close to sunset so we got both some areas in the daylight and at night. A great adventure! We ended the day by buying some wonderful sandwiches and pairing it with our last Rioja wine from Barcelona. Venezia III We bought an all day vaporetto pass(15E) and headed to the island of Murano. It does take a lot of stops but it gives one a chance to fully appreciate the total Venice and how surrounded it is by water. We did get to see two different demonstrations of glass blowing in Murano, which was most informative. When it came to purchasing glass frequently it was hard to tell which were actually Murano glass and which were copies. Several dealers showed us their books of Murano stickers. We did buy some small pieces of jewelry. Murano itself is worth the ride because it is Venice without the crowds. We headed back to our hotel to retrieve luggage. One thing I enjoyed about the vaporetto rides was that we would head to the very back of the boat which had a few outside chairs. Bundled up, this was a great adventure each time. On a couple of occasions, after a short conversation in Italian, a local would point out specific sights and explain them to us, fortunately in English. This was some of our favorite moments We decided to spend our third night in the city of Mestre. It was on the mainland and close to the airport. We had a very early flight and a water taxi was going to cost us 150E. After discussion with the hotel staff, we decided to haul our 3 pieces of luggage and a backpack on the vaporetto. We timed it a 3:00 so it avoided the rush hour. Even with all of this luggage the vaporetto staff only smiled and waived us on. We got off at the Ferrovia stop and went right to the Stazione Treni(Train Station). We caught the train to Mestre for about 4 E each and then went one block to our hotel. The Golden Tulip Tritone Hotel (89E) was easily accessible from the Mestre station. Our biggest challenge was bringing the luggage up the stairs at the train station. We could not find an elevator, but there must have been one there. Our next important task in Mestre was to locate the airport bus which was one short block down from the train station. This one of the reasons we stayed at the Tritone, its excellent location for transportation. We talked with some other tourists who stayed there and took the bus into Piazza Roma We bought our advance tickets for 3.5E each and caught our bus in the morning promptly at 0530 for our 20 minute ride to the airport. It worked like a charm( a cab ride would have been 35-40 E). We did do a little shopping while waiting for the restaurant to open that evening. We were able to find two magnificent pieces of Murano glass for very reasonable prices. One piece did have a minor flaw, but it did not matter. The hotel recommended a neighborhood restaurant called Ristorante MorO. For 36E we had an extraordinary meal with ½ carafe of house wine and the most extraordinary dessert. A fitting end to our extraordinary trip. P.S. We do have two albums of pictures on Shutterfly. If anyone wants to view them I can forward the website information. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2007
My sister and I sailed on Millennium on 11/4 through 11/18 and had a fantastic time. I might add this was my first cruise and first trip to Europe. Our embarkation was easy and swift, our luggage arrived within a few hours and our cabin, ... Read More
My sister and I sailed on Millennium on 11/4 through 11/18 and had a fantastic time. I might add this was my first cruise and first trip to Europe. Our embarkation was easy and swift, our luggage arrived within a few hours and our cabin, although small, was suitable for our port intensive trip. All our information was gathered before our leaving so we were able to relax after a 25-hour journey with little sleep. We had a virtual tour of the ship online and had booked our shore excursions long before the trip. I might add that the ship-sponsored excursions were inconsistent to say the least, some were exceptional and others were...well, perhaps herding cattle would describe it best. Some guides were great, others went through the motions of getting us from A to B without loosing anyone. Some were very informative and others seemed to be reading their descriptions of things. This, I would say, was my biggest complaint and it really doesn't amount to much since we booked ½ of our tours (on my sisters advice) by private guides.The ports of call were absolutely amazing,Rome,Istanbul,Athens....wow! On the ship I found some activity to do almost every moment I wished to. Everything from BINGO to Texas Hold 'Em, with art shows and auctions in between. If you wanted activities you just had to look at the daily newsletter to find one. The shows were fun and shopping was great, I found some unique things to bring back along with my port purchases. The staff was friendly and polite and Elton and Kumar were outstanding as our steward and waiter respectively. The food was very good we dined in the Metropolitan every night but two, I was even offered a tour of the galley which, having been a cook years ago, I really enjoyed. I'm hooked, I've been home one week and I'm looking forward to my next cruise. Thanks Millennium, I'll be back Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2007
General Hints: If you can, take a non-stop flight to Barcelona. We know of two groups, one from California and one from Canada who had stopovers in Frankfurt and Heathrow, whose luggage did not make the ship before it sailed. Also, try to ... Read More
General Hints: If you can, take a non-stop flight to Barcelona. We know of two groups, one from California and one from Canada who had stopovers in Frankfurt and Heathrow, whose luggage did not make the ship before it sailed. Also, try to get to Barcelona, a day or two before the ship sails. It is a beautiful city and well worth the time. Also,if you can, stay 2-3 days in Venice after the cruise is over. Venice is a great city and also well worth the time. Look into the post-cruise packages offered by Celebrity. Celebrity then is responsible for getting your luggage to the hotel and then to the airport, when your stay is over. If you book on your own, know that water taxis are quite expensive and they are the only way to get to a hotel. Also, book a 4 star hotel. Three star hotels do not have porter service. We had to get our baggage from the water taxi to the hotel and take it up yo our rooms ourselves.In Venice, book tours to the island of Murano and to the Jewish Ghetto, they are excellent tours. The Millennium is a beautiful ship. The staff was excellent. They were very attentive to our needs. We booked concierge class. The only reason I would recommend concierge is that the room is bigger and on a two week cruise, that is important. Otherwise,we did not see any real advantage to that class. The food in the restaurant was good; nothing really special. We ate twice in the Olympic Restaurant. There is an extra charge ($30.00per person, but, it is well worth it. The food and the service were excellent. The shows were good. The Celebrity singers and dancers were very good. EXCURSIONS: Since we were a group of four people, our travel agent recommended that we look into private tours. We used the private tours in Nice, Italy and Athens. It was well worth the money and in some cases were cheaper than the ship's tours. In Athens, we used Athens Taxi.com. If you use them, ask for the van. The taxi was tight for four people. for Nice, we used Ming Tours. For Italy, we used Jeremy Tours. Jeremy Tours was really very good. The drivers and guides were good. They had an in-depth knowledge and were able to get us into places before the large groups. In addition, they showed us places not normally seen by tourists, This was especially true in Rome and Florence. Be sure to take the tour of Positano, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. Use a private tour, if you can. This was the most breathtaking tour on the trip. The city we liked the least was Istanbul. Take the historical tours. They are better than the two day Classical Tour.DO NOT take the nighttime excursion to the Turkish nightclub. This was a big rip-off. For the Greek Island of Mykonos, you do not need to take the tour. Just take the tender to the island and walk around. It is a pretty island. The excursion to Santorini, we thought, was a waste. Again, take the tender to the island and take the cable car and just walk around. Keep checking on the excursions. Not all of the excursions were listed on-line or in the booklet that they send you. Some of the excursions that they said would not be available were actually available. One example was the tour of Jewish Istanbul. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
Our Itinerary: 14 night Classical Med cruise, Barcelona, Villefranche, Florence, Rome (over night), Naples, Athens, Istanbul (over night), Mykonos, Santorini, Venice. This was a port intensive cruise with only 3 sea days. We booked our ... Read More
Our Itinerary: 14 night Classical Med cruise, Barcelona, Villefranche, Florence, Rome (over night), Naples, Athens, Istanbul (over night), Mykonos, Santorini, Venice. This was a port intensive cruise with only 3 sea days. We booked our air on our own using Delta Frequent Flier miles. We had a flight from Tpa to ATL and then to Barcelona. It was a good flight, we arrived Barcelona 10/5 at 11:00am. We had made arrangements to be picked up by BarcelonaTaxi@barcelonataxivan.com They picked us up right on time and brought us to our Hotel. We booked the Hilton Diagonal Mar through Hilton Honour rewards for two nights. The hotel is beautiful and it's not far to get anywhere in the city. It's not in Las Ramblas but it's only a bus ride or taxi away. The Ship: Millennium is beautiful. We were booked in the SkySuite 9121. We had a great Butler Ruben. He was always around in the event we needed anything. Our cabin was a Handicapped accessible room so we had a big bathroom and walk in shower (no tub). The only wear I saw in the room was where the curtains had been caught in the sliding glass door several times. I'm sure it wouldn't be cost effective to change them every time. though I do think they need to come up with a better idea for the sliders. We had wonderful service from Togi and Otto in the Platinum Club (Martini, Champagne and Wine Bar). Togi is very entertaining with his jugging of bottles. We had great food every night in the restaurant. This cruise we decided not to book the Specialty Restaurant. So every evening we were in the dining room. We had the best table mates, and our waiters Alberto and "G" were absolutely wonderful! The variety of food choices is amazing and the food comes out hot, fresh and great tasting. No one at out table ever complained about any meal. For Lunch if we were on the ship we ate at the buffet. The food was always good and the variety of choices were abound. Breakfast we usually dined in our cabin, occasional we snuck out for the wonderful waffles! We booked our itineraries some on our own and some thru the ship. For Villefranche we went on our own. You can take a train which isn't difficult and get to Nice, Cannes, Monaco and Monte Carlo. We chose to go to Cannes and Nice. Be warned though the trains are not in the best part of town so once you get off, you have to walk a long way or take a cab to get to the interesting sites. Florence (Livorno) we took the ships slow food movement tour. It was a great choice. We went to an Esturcan archeological site, a winery, where we had an awesome lunch, an olive oil factory. It was a great tour and we really enjoyed ourselves. Rome (Civitavecchia) we took the ships "Angels & Demons" tour. It takes you to sites mentioned in Dan Browns book. It was a great tour, and it includes alot of the sites you'd want to see anyway. The second day we decided just to visit Civitavecchia. It's a great little town. The port has a free shuttle which will drop you off not far from the train station so you can get a train back into Rome if you want. Naples - we booked seesorrento.com (Marcello) and we took the Amalfi Coast tour. IT's well worth the money and we had a fabulous lunch that had breath taking views. Athens - We booked georgestaxitours@yahoo.com Our driver was Tony. He was the best. He is very proud of his town and knows alot about the history. Istanbul - we booked the ships 2 1/2 day tours. First day was European side visiting the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, rug demo and the famous market. Second day was Asian side and Topkopi Palace. I was disappointed in the second day as the bus took us over the bridge to the Asian side and turned around and went back to the European side. Other than that the tour did go to most places you probably want to visit. Mykonos - what can I say but Beautiful! You definitely can do this Island on your own. It's friendly and beautiful. Santorini - We did the Oia wine tour thru the ship. It's a great idea if there is going to be some ships in port as we got to the top of the Island by bus. You can only get up otherwise by walking, donkey or cable car. There is 6 cable cars that hold 6 people in each. we had 4 ships in port on our day and the line to go up and down the mountain was very long. We only were in port from 7-3pm so if you didn't get moving first thing you didn't get to see alot of the Island. This port is very picturesque and beautiful. Would have loved more time here. Maybe on the next cruise. We only made one Show and that was the Ventriloquist. If he's on board don't miss him, he's really good and it's a great show. Usually we make more shows but we had so much to do we just never made it. All in all we had a great time, great ship and met great new friends. We'd definitely sail Millennium again. It's now my husbands favorite ship. I still love Constellation, she's my favorite. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
Four of us were between 40-50 really enjoyed this trip. We were some of the youngest people on the Millennium. But we could not keep up with some of the seniors, who danced all night. We found this trip to not be a restful one, we wanted ... Read More
Four of us were between 40-50 really enjoyed this trip. We were some of the youngest people on the Millennium. But we could not keep up with some of the seniors, who danced all night. We found this trip to not be a restful one, we wanted to see as much as possible and tried to pack as much as possible to our days. The Millennium does show a lot of wear and tear. The ship needs new carpets and a bit of updating. Embarkation was a breeze, no wait and the ship was ready for us before 11am. Our rooms were ready around 1PM and our luggage arrived to our room between 2-4. We stayed in Barcelona the night before which I would suggest. Barcelona is a beautiful city. We booked airfare and hotel through Celebrity and we were happy with both. We wished we had stayed in Venice for a night on our return. We did not have any time to see Venice. The food or service was not as good as an earlier trip on the Celebrity's Galaxy but it was still fine. Our waiter was not the best in the dining room, but he did get us anything we asked for. Nice, France We did a ships tour to Monte Carlo, and Eze which was great, except for a few complaining older people who did not like all the walking but we read the write up which said walking up to 3 miles. Florence, Italy Another ships tour of Florence/Pisa, well worth the trip. The guide was very full of info.( you must pay for bathrooms and if you want to sit in a cafe you must pay extra to sit down)Another long day of sites and walking. Rome/Civitavecchia Rome is unbelievable! We had a private tour, and highly recommend Stefano at romecab@yahoo.com our best day of the trip we had a wonderful English speaking, nonsmoking guide who took us everywhere before the tour buses. We had lunch in "The Little Tomato" our guide ordered for us and a nice wine, it was perfect. Stefano also arranged a private guide for the Vatican. Marco was outstanding, he was $60 euro an hour but well worth every penny. He took us right in with no lines and for two hours told us more than we could take in. This is one place not to miss. The second day in Rome we took the train from Civitavecchia which was a short walk from the port, an hour ride and walked around on our own. This was fun also but we wished we booked the guide for both days. Enjoy Rome! Naples/Capri We took a ships tour Capri/Sorrento/Pompeii. Capri was another favorite stop.A great lunch in Sorrento. Pompeii was amazing. Athens/Greece Private tour in Athens spirostours@yahoo.com. Spiros is a wonderful man and would highly recommended him also. We had a great day. Istanbul/Turkey We took the two day ships tour, both were a half day. Very interesting, a clean and large city. We were very glad to have a guided trip of the city. We saw a lot and learned much about Turkey. Mykonos/Greece We walked around on our own. It is a safe and beautiful island. Santorini/Greece We took the cable car up and walked down. This to is one of the most enjoyable and beautiful places we went. We all would go back here. I can see why it is a great vacation spot. All in all a great vacation which I highly suggest for you to do. But keep in mind it is not a time for just relaxing! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
I sailed on Celebrity Cruises' Millennium on Aug. 17, 2007 from Barcelona to Venice. The itinerary was wonderful as were the shore excursions. I booked all of them in advance on their web site and my tickets were waiting in my room ... Read More
I sailed on Celebrity Cruises' Millennium on Aug. 17, 2007 from Barcelona to Venice. The itinerary was wonderful as were the shore excursions. I booked all of them in advance on their web site and my tickets were waiting in my room when I arrived. Since I'm talking about shore excursions, let me say that I found that the ship's Shore Excursion Department was extremely organized. We met in the Celebrity Theater for each tour. Considering there were hundreds of guests participating in various tours, there was never any mass confusion. Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived about 12:30pm and walked right up to an agent. Since we had done our on-line checkin, the process took less than 5 minutes. When we boarded, we were served champagne or a mimosa and escorted to our cabin. This was a very nice touch. In terms of the ship, I was a bit disappointed in the dEcor. There is nothing about the dEcor that is eye-popping like the ships with Royal Caribbean or Carnival. I would describe it as understated elegance, which is what I guess they want it to be. We were in an oceanview room, which was actually more spacious than I thought it would be. The room had a hair dryer, safe and mini-bar. They also have the new bedding, which was wonderful! There is a desk, small sofa and small table. Also there is plenty of closet space. The beds are high enough off of the floor that you can stash your suitcases underneath. They also have very nice phones, which have the time and also caller ID!! So when your friend is calling from their room, their name appears on the display! We were confirmed for early dining. However, prior to the cruise, we decided that because of very long touring days, we wouldn't go to the dining room every night and would just go to the buffet. I was extremely disappointed in the options at the buffet. On other cruises I've been on, I always was able to get a fully cooked meal. Here the choices were pasta and salad bar, pizza, sushi (which was excellent), hamburgers and hot dogs and ice cream (which was also excellent and FREE!). They also had an option called the Aqua Spa Cafe which was in the solarium area. It was actually a bit hidden and in my opinion was the best kept secret on the ship in terms of food. Here they had light fare, which was delicious! I found out that the same staff (cooks and servers) took care of this venue as those in the Olympic Restaurant (specialty restaurant). They also have an option called Casual Dining. This is a great alternative, however, I feel that it should be called something else, because it is not at what I would consider casual dining. It's dining very similar to the dining room, just in the Ocean Cafe (buffet area). The service personnel are in training (which I found out from a friend) and therefore, can be lacking. The food is good and you get your full courses. Reservations are required and there is a suggested $2 per person gratuity. One thing I found disturbing, however, is that our waiter here, as well as our waiter in the dining room solicited us to be sure to make comments on the comment form. I didn't think this should come from the caliber of personnel that Celebrity has. The room service was excellent. They had a lot choices, including steak and French fries, which were very good. We ordered our food about 6pm and it took a bit longer than I expected (about 45 minutes). The buffet at lunch time was much better and I found that there were a lot more choices. Another example of the great service on board a Celebrity ship is that at the lunch buffet after you make your choices, a waiter takes your tray for you and escorts you to an available table. We also had the opportunity to dine in the Olympic Restaurant. The cost is $30 per person. Although the specialty dining on cruise ships is not my thing, I found this experience to be delightful. The setting, of course, is very elegant and is great for a special occasion. At first, I thought it would be stuffy, but the staff were very friendly and interacted with us. There were more choices on the menu that I expected. You have your choice of either a 4 or 6 course meal. And if you like wine, you can choose wine pairings with each course (for an additional fee of course.) We arrived there early (6pm) so it took about 2 hours. But if you arrive later in the evening, it usually will be longer than that (about 3 hours). And needless to say, the food was outstanding. The entertainment was very good. This is one of my favorite things on a cruise. The production shows (three of them) were fabulous. The costumes and sets were great and the dancers, the musicians and singers were very talented. On the other nights, they had singers, comedians and a virtuoso pianist, who was incredible. They also have a cinema on board where they showed movies. I was disappointed, however, that they repeated the same movies halfway through the cruise. Also around the ship, they had good entertainers. In particular, there was an a cappella group called Top Deck. This group consisted of 4 young men, who recently graduated from college and took on this venture before starting a "real" job. They were so talented and very entertaining. We tried to catch their act at every opportunity. They offered several lectures. Although I didn't attend any of them, I find that to be a nice benefit to the guests. They also offered complimentary computer classes. The internet cafe was staffed most of the time when the ship was at sea and they were very helpful with guests who weren't familiar with computers. Debarkation was also VERY organized and went very smoothly. Instead of having ALL of the guests be out of their rooms and in public lounges early in the morning, they asked guests be in an assigned public lounge at a certain time based on their colored tags. And then they came to that lounge to escort us to the gangway. This alleviated those annoying announcements and the lounges weren't as crowded as on other cruise lines I've been on. It was a great trip. I can't say enough how great a cruise line Celebrity Cruises is!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2007
My wife & I took our honeymoon aboard the Celebrity Millennium on a 13 day cruise during June of 2007. The departure port was Barcelona, Spain visiting Villiefranche, Pisa/Florence, Rome, Naples, Santorini, Athens, Dubrovnik, & ... Read More
My wife & I took our honeymoon aboard the Celebrity Millennium on a 13 day cruise during June of 2007. The departure port was Barcelona, Spain visiting Villiefranche, Pisa/Florence, Rome, Naples, Santorini, Athens, Dubrovnik, & finally finishing in Venice, Italy.We handled our own flight arrangements into Barcelona by flying in on Easyjet the morning of the cruise. It did take us sometime to find the Celebrity representative to take the bus to the cruise port since they did not have any sign directing passengers unlike the Disney cruise. Unfortunately we had a wait about an hour before we could depart because of additional passengers flying in the airport. The bus ride was not to long and after about 20-30 minutes then we arrived at the port to get aboard the ship. Check in was quick and easy but boarding of the ship did not begin for another hour so my wife & I had lunch in the shopping area of the port. Once aboard we headed to our stateroom, Celebrity advised us they would not be ready for another 2 hours but when we got there our room was clean & our luggage had arrived. My wife quickly took a nap since she was recovering from a bad bought of hay fever she had gotten while we were in England before the cruise. Our room was 9000; ocean-view stateroom, on Sky Deck. The room was very large since our room was one of the few ocean-view's on the deck, and apparently where the balcony was normally located we had an additional small pull-out couch and storage space. Closet & storage space was ample for all our luggage (which is a lot for a 2 week cruise). My wife was very impressed with the vanity mirror in the room. Our room also had a full couch which was very nice. The bathroom was a good for the size of room we had. The stateroom's TV & ordering system was easy to use and figure out. We used the TV a few times to order room service & breakfast during the trip. Room service was always delivered quickly and nearly always on time. Both our primary & secondary stateroom attendants were very polite and friendly throughout the cruise. Clean towels and other items were always in good supply. Since we were honeymooning, I had booked honeymoon package. The items were always promptly delivered on time for every night we were to receive them. The only issue we had with our room during the cruise it was located near a crew entrance for the bridge area. A few times during the cruise my wife & I were awoken by crew members coming & going through the door.The Millennium was enjoyable and was easy to get around. I definitely prefer the Millennium shop layout compared to other cruise ships. The staff of these different locations were always very helpful even on topics relating to the cruise and it's ports. The coffee bar makes an especially nice cappuccino & espresso in my opinion for you coffee lovers. The front desk staff were always helpful and the ATM & cash exchange services were located right next to it. Even though the weather was perfect for our entire trip the Millennium indoor pool is a great amenity on those warmers days when you just enjoy a good swim and not deal with the crowds outside. I was disappointed to learn once aboard that Celebrity has just gone to policy of no smoking inside the ship. When I booked the cruise it had there was a cigar bar located aboard but when we arrived it had been converted to a piano bar. Millennium offers a large variety of dinning & drinking venues aboard and we enjoyed them all while aboard. There were plenty of activities during our cruise though we only attended some because of being so tired after spending so much time in port during the trip. Our days at sea normally involved sleeping in late and going to various activities like art shows, shop sales, and other presentations. Since we were newly weds we did attend the ships get together for honeymooners & people celebrating anniversary's. If you are adventurous you can even participate in the game show during the event. One of the funniest moments of our honeymoon occurred watching the game show. My wife & I also won the contest for being the youngest newly weds aboard the ship. We got a nice prize packing including t-shirts, cards, mugs, a cake, and even a bottle of champagne. Food aboard the ship was very enjoyable. While Celebrity tout's their normal dinner service being very close to high class fine dinning, it fell a bit short of my expectations. Even then, the Millenniums food is far above both Carnival & Royal Caribbean ships I have sailed on. Dinner in the dinning room was always an event in itself normally involving 4-6 courses. I consider myself an adventurous eater and the nightly menu's always had something new to try plus having the classics as well. DJ our head waiter did a fantastic job during the entire cruise. DJ had been working on the Millennium for several years so he knew the menu's, the ship, and the port inside & out and provided us with valuable information. DJ was even able to help my wife & I get a very nice table at the Nautika restaurant in Dubrovnik since he was friends with ones of it's managers. The only issue we had with dinner service was our sommelier. My wife & I quickly befriended another honeymooning couple dinning with us. We decided to share a bottle of wine every night with them, our sommelier did not like this arrangement in addition she got upset for me during one meal for getting a class of cheaper wine that was a type that I particularly liked. Our final dinner service our sommelier never even came to our table. Our friend left the dinning room to order bottle of wine. The staff in the bar asked the reason and she explained the situation. They said they would take care of the delivery and a few minutes later our sommelier delivered the bottle of wine and an apology. The Ocean Cafe & Grill had enjoyable food for the most part. The made to order waffles are must to try while aboard. The nightly sushi bar was very good as well, always a popular place for a mid afternoon snack. We did notice a few things throughout our cruise that the previous nights dinner menu cakes & pies were often cut up to make desert for the next day's lunch. Towards the end of the cruise the ship began running out of fruit juice & fresh fruit for the buffet. The Platinum Club also had very nice martini's, I especially enjoyed the flight of martini's which was a great deal. My wife & I also had dinner in the fine dinning restaurant the Olympic while aboard. I purchased the dinner with the full wine package. Our food was fantastic and the service from the large staff of waiters/waitresses, sommiliers, and other individuals was superb. The wine pairings for each course were pretty spot on. Since again we were newlyweds the Olympic staff gave a entire cake to celebrate besides the regular deserts we received with dinner. The Olympic is a must for any foodie, but I would not recommend for children.As part of the honeymoon package I purchased we did get over an hour in Roman bath with skin treatments. All we had to due was to call and book an available time during the cruise. The treatment was in small private bath much like steam room. The experience was completely new for both my wife & I but was enjoyable. The only problems my wife & I had during our entire cruise was when leaving the ship. I bought some scotch & wine to take home. We were repeatedly told to put all alcohol in our carry-on luggage which my wife & I did. As soon as we left the ship and reach the airport that is where things got unpleasant. At Venice's airport you can not check in for your flight until 2 hours in advance. Since the Millennium and 2 other cruises ended their cruises on the same day, there were several thousand people stuck in the airport for several hours before they could check in to their flights. Luckily I found a table in the food court so my wife & I were able to sit while waiting, most people had to sit on the floor. When we finally checked in for our flight we headed through security which the Italian customs agent said I was not allowed to bring my alcohol through. He tried his best to help me put in our checked luggage but it had already left to the terminal. He was very upset about having to take it, which I did my best to assure him it was not his fault. Upon returning home I contacted Celebrity concerning the issue of my alcohol but never received a good answer on why the instructions were mixed up.The first port we visited was Villifrance located in between Nice & Monaco. I had booked a shore excursion to take us to both Nice & Monaco. The ships tender took us to our waiting bus where we headed to Nice first. The bus dropped our group off near old downtown just near the flower market. There we were free to walk around the city for over 3 hours. My wife & I enjoyed walking through the local street markets and local stores. We even took the opportunity to try some of the local pastries which were very enjoyable. We then headed to Monaco for the rest of our bus tour. The bus took us to Old Monaco which was some way from Monte Carlo where some people wanted to go. My wife & I enjoyed the old city and visited the royal family's home and then went shopping before we had lunch. We arrived a week after the F1 race so racing clothes were on sale everywhere. Lunch in a local Italian restaurant was great and the Monaco beer the owner said was terrible was quite good in you like a amber style beer. For sea lovers you can visit the aquarium which is world renowned. We than headed back to the ship and the drive was very scenic and enjoyable. My wife & I then walked around downtown Villefranche before heading back to ship. Contrary to the opinion rude Parisians have bestowed on their fellow countrymen the locals of Nice & Monaco were very friendly and talkative. The area was one of our favorite ports of the entire trip.Our second port was to area outside Pisa & Florence. Again I booked a bus tour to visit both locations. The drive to Pisa was not too long, but we quickly learned from our tour guide there isn't much to see in Pisa besides the leaning tower. Sure enough she was correct and the tour only spent about hour in Pisa. Be warned do not buy anything from the street vendors since it is illegal and you can face a 1,400 euro fine. We then headed to Florence which was a very beautiful drive. We walked to Dante's church to begin our free time within the city. Many headed to see the statue of David but my wife & I walked around to visit some of the cathedrals and old buildings. My wife definitely enjoyed the great number of fine leather and clothing stores located in the city. We had some additional time so we tried to go & see the statue of David after all but the wait was over 4 hours so were returned to shopping district to grab a bit to eat & get some gelato. If you don't have time to see David don't be depressed there are a number of other version commissioned as well throughout the area including a stone one in the center of the city. Overall Florence is a very interesting city to visit, if you are a big fan of the Italian Renaissance or shopping you'll most likely enjoy it.Our next port of call was Rome. Unfortunately President Bush was in Rome for a state visit and there were mass demonstrations across the city. It was advised Americans should be travel with as much discretion or not at all. We decided to stay at the Port of Civitavecchia and walk around. Since it was Sunday most of the stores were closed and nothing was going on there was not much to see or do.Naples was our next stop. I had been warned even before our trip to be extremely cautious in Naples by my history professor who had lived there for several years. Celebrity and especially the foreign cruise staff warned all passengers at length not to go into the city itself and to stick with your tours at all time. We were told to take no valuables with you and make sure you have hidden copies of the required travel documents just in case. Upon leaving the port you quickly find that Naples is a extremely dirty city with shanty towns and packs of roaming wild dogs. We boarded our bus to Pompeii, and as you drive there you can see the piles of trash every where because of the city's on & off trash strike. Pompeii itself was an enjoyable place to visit and would have been more so if we had not had the slowest tour guide I have ever experienced. Since my wife & I are both lovers of history and very familiar with the site from books, we asked to separate ourselves from the tour so we could move faster and see more of the site. The original idea was return to ship and take a cab to the Naples Museum of History, but some of our table-mates had taken a cab to Pompeii and on their return trip the cab driver tried 4 times to drop them off in strange parts of the city. Based on that and plus our tour guide and the locals telling as well not to go into the city we did not. I did enjoy a nice afternoon on the ship taking in the view of Mt. Vesuvius. The ship when departing did sail past the scenic island of Capri, which I told was by other passengers was a beautiful and interesting location to visit. All in all when enjoyed visiting Pompeii but nothing else really about our stop in Naples, so be forewarned about the port.Santorini was our next stop and by far the best stop on the entire cruise for both my wife & I. We took the ship's tender the cable car to take us up to Thira. Unfortunately there were also 2 other cruise ships anchored so the wait was about an hour. We didn't not want to take the foot path because of the distance or ride the really smelly donkeys. Upon reaching the top you get a breathtaking view of the entire volcanic caldera. After taking a few minutes taking in the view, we headed to main road north of Thira to get a taxi ride to the town of Oia. The cab ride was quite an adventure since the cab driver was driving very fast while dodging 4-wheelers & mopeds driven by tourists. Upon reaching Oia we quickly began walking around the local churches and shops. We did stop to help a local who had spilled his shipment of tomatoes down one of the walkways in the town. He was very appreciative of my wife, other tourists, and my help in rounding them all up. Walking along the path towards the northern point of the island is fabulous. I don't think I have seen more breathtaking views in my life. The local buildings are beautifully decorated with their white walls and brightly colored roofs and windows. All the while my wife & I visited the islands local shops buying some jewelry, drinks, and taking plenty of pictures. When the other tourists began moving in force into Oia, we headed to a local restaurant for an early lunch. The restaurant had a breathtaking balcony reaching over the edge of the caldera allowing for some great pictures. After lunch we headed back to Thira were we visited more shops, which my wife was impressed with the variety of fine jewelry stores. In the early afternoon we headed back to the ship, to cool and prepare for dinner later. At sunset we and a lot other passenger headed to the rear of the ship to take in what is considered one of the best sunset sets in all of the world. In the end, if my wife & I had one place to pick to visit again it would be Santorini. Though locals told us the beginning or end of the season is the best time to visit since during peak season as many of 8-10 cruise ships can be anchored any give day making Thira & even Oia very crowded. Athens was our next stop, and like our other stops we took a bus tour to the Acropolis. We left out Piraeus getting good bus tour through the city. The group made a short stop the spot where the first modern Olympics were held. The route to Acropolis was very winding threw the city but we finally reached our destination. Our tour guide gave us our ticket and told us what time to meet back the bus. We then walked up to entrance, and upon reaching there you begin to be screamed at by Athenian tour guides trying to move the crowds in & out the Acropolis. Reaching the summit you get to see the sight of the Parthenon. The Parthenon then, still, and for sometime in the future is going under restoration. Scaffolding covers certain sections of building and parts of the Acropolis are covered with blocks of marble being repaired or replaced. The experience is still exciting and the site allows from some great views of city of Athens. After returning to bus we stopped for a bathroom break at tourist shop run by a "friend" of the tour guide. We then proceeded back to the ship. It was unfortunate that my wife & I had to choose visiting the Parthenon or Athens History Museum. I hope they offer future shore excursions that include both. All in I enjoyed the experience greatly, though my wife found the Acropolis a bit boring.Dubrovnik, Croatia was surprisingly enjoyable port. We took the tender ashore and a bus to Old Dubrovnik. Its massive stone walls were very impressive. My wife & I headed to well known photo gallery dealing with the Yugoslavian/Bosnian conflict. The gallery was quite small for the entrance fee, but still a moving experience. After that we left headed into the city shopping at some of the local stores and enjoying the scenery. When finished we headed to the Nautika for lunch. Nautika is upscale seafood restaurant with a well known reputation in Europe. With the help our waiter DJ on the Millennium my wife & I got a very beautiful table on the porch overlooking ocean. The food was fantastic and I had the best calamari I've ever had in my life. Dubrovnik is quaint and very enjoyable destination and I look forward to the chance to visit there again in the future.Our final port was Venice. It is an interesting experience heading into port past St. Marco's square on a cruise ship. Once there you can easily take a water taxi from the port to St. Marco's. My wife & I then headed out on foot by ourselves to take in the city. Contrary to what many people had told us the city really had no odor and was pretty clean. Of course you do have to very careful of pigeons in St. Marco's square. My wife & I had a women walking right in front us get a hair full of poop. I would recommend walking in the covered areas as much as possible around the square. We decided not to take a gondola ride because of the high cost, plus my wife does not like small boats. We enjoyed our time walking and taking in the buildings and shopping in the many stores of all kinds variety. Venice ended up a lot better then what my wife & I expected since so many people had made negative comments about it before we left. It was definitely a very enjoyable place to visit.All in all the the honeymoon was fantastic and Celebrity & the Millennium lived up to nearly all the expectations and opinions I had heard before going on the cruise. Both my wife & I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone in the future minus maybe visiting Naples. 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Sail Date: May 2007
My husband and I went on the May, 2007 Celebrity Millennium's 12 night cruise from Barcelona to Venice with 3 other couples. We booked through a travel agency but planned all the shore excursions on our own. The ship was wonderful, ... Read More
My husband and I went on the May, 2007 Celebrity Millennium's 12 night cruise from Barcelona to Venice with 3 other couples. We booked through a travel agency but planned all the shore excursions on our own. The ship was wonderful, the food service excellent and the wait staff very attentive. We all had balcony rooms and enjoyed the ability to sit on the balconies whenever we could. Because we had 8 to share the cost of private limousine services for land excursions, I found companies online and booked the excursions at prices less than what the ship could offer. Additionally, we had the luxury of being able to control our own times and locations. We used Revelation Tours in France, Italy Limousine for the first three ports in Italy, Santorini Tours in Santorini, Dennis Kokkotos in Athens, and Venice Boat International in Venice. In Dubrovnik, we took the ship's bus trip to Pile Gate and then met some friends who now live in Croatia who acted as our tour guides for the Old Town. Most memorable were the tours by Italy Limousine conducted in Rome by Carlo and the Amalfi Coast by Gianluca. These two gentlemen were exception in terms of their broad knowledge base, their personalities, and their attention to our needs. I used a portable wheelchair and they were very accommodating and made sure I was comfortable in the vans. I would be very happy to act as a reference for anyone taking the Mediterranean Cruise and can be contacted by e-mail. Three couples live in Arizona and we flew on US Airways through Philadelphia to Barcelona and back from Venice. One couple lives in Milwaukee and they flew on Delta through Atlanta to Barcelona and back from Venice. This cruise was the trip of a lifetime for my husband and me....a very memorable trip attributed to the Celebrity line and our personally planned shore excursions. Maria Walwork Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
Review of the Celebritys Millennium Transatlantic Cruise November 24th to December 10th 2006 The Memorable Celebrity Staff: Master - Captain Michael Karatzas Hotel Director - Renato Chizzola Chief Engineer - Ioannis Pepes Cruise ... Read More
Review of the Celebritys Millennium Transatlantic Cruise November 24th to December 10th 2006 The Memorable Celebrity Staff: Master - Captain Michael Karatzas Hotel Director - Renato Chizzola Chief Engineer - Ioannis Pepes Cruise Director - Nick Weir Food and Beverage Mgr - Shelton Thompson Front Office Manager - Janet David (Philippines) Restaurant Mgr - Chaydee (Australia) Maitre D - Chi- Ka (Poland) Our Butler - Xavier (India) Stateroom Attendant - Maria (Philippines) Waiter - Emil (Bulgaria) Captains Club Hostess - Delia We just returned from the western transatlantic on Celebritys Millennium ship from Barcelona, Spain to Fort Lauderdale, Fl on Sunday December 10th. We have done several TA cruises on the Millie and this was just as good as the others. You would think it would be boring to see the same ports all the time but we enjoy getting away and the sea days are very relaxing. The Millie had a problem with its pod and needed extra time to get to FLL so Celebrity decided to skip Naples to give some extra time if winds and sea conditions necessitated it. We did arrive on time on 12/10 but U.S. Customs did a thorough job of insuring the ship was fit for embarkation. When a ship is away for 7 months the Feds do more checking I was told. Barcelona: We took a flight to JFK from Orlando and a non-stop flight from JFK to Barcelona on Thanksgiving Day and we arrived in Barcelona at 7:30 am (an hour early) on the day of departure. We were tired and even though I paid for transfers I didnt want to take a 2 hour tour of Barcelona since the ship would not be ready for boarding for 4 or 5 hours. I gave Celebrity our luggage and took a cab to the port (36 euros with tip). It took about 34 minutes to get to the pier from the BCN airport; we arrived at 8:45 am. Since the ship was in Barcelona overnight by the time we arrived most passengers had debarked. Upon boarding I was reunited with many of the same personnel that we met on previous sailings, Hotel Director, Mr. Renato Chizzola, Captain Karatzas, Chaydee and Delia. As I said in the past, Celebrity staffers make everyone feel special with hellos and smiles. We were up for 30+ hours and really wanted to get some rest once we boarded so we took a schnooz for a few hours. It revived us and kept us going till our normal midnight bedtime. On day 2 we docked in Nice but we didnt get off the ship. It was hard to get up before 1 pm and we decided to stay aboard. The weather was not that nice, raining and cool, so we spent the day in our cabin just chilling out and relaxing. On Day 3 we arrived in Florence, Italy and met our tour guide, Driver in Rome and 8 of had a great 9 hour tour. Remo did not come but his driver/guide was very good and we had a great tour. There was a marathon that day in Florence and many of the streets were closed so we had to be creative. Lunch was ala carte and Susan and I had pizza and salad. It was good but not great. We got back to the ship in plenty of time. On Day 4 we arrived in Rome and met the owner Remo for a great tour. Remo was on time and was his usual funny self. He showed us all the sites and took us to his favorite restaurant for a 5 course lunch. We had lots of wine and had a fabulous time. Remo played his accordion and sang during lunch. It was a fast fun 9 hours in Rome. For each 9 hour tour we paid him (8 people) 72 euros each which is a great deal compared to the cruise ship rates for the same tour. For the remaining ports, Corsica, Malaga and Tenerife we did our own thing touring the cities. The Cruise Director, Nick Weir was outstanding and was very visible on the ship. I ran into him frequently and he always engaged me in great conversation. Nick is Simon Weirs older brother and does a 6 week stint on Celebrity every year. Nick is a game show host in the UK and does some Television work in Las Vegas where he lives with his wife. Nick is a class act and great to hang with. The entertainment on the ship was outstanding, Helen Jayne, Mario Andrea and Nick Weir who did a great one man show. Also, the dinner quartet from Poland was outstanding. A new jazz group joined the ship in Malaga and although young, were very talented and did an amazing job. The singer Janelle Monet has a sweet soft voice and can really do justice to any song. We dined in the Olympic Specialty Restaurant three times and were never disappointed. On night one I had Steak Diane and my wife the lobster/shrimp dish. On night 2 I had the rack of lamb and Susan had the same as before and on night three I had the tenderloin (no spices) with a big baked potato and Susan had the Dover Sole. All the meals in the Olympic were memorable and excellent. The stateroom was in great shape, the furniture seemed to be reupholstered and the housekeeping staff did a good job of dusting and maintaining the status-quo. Smells: On day 14, I was on my balcony at around 3:30 pm and was almost asphyxiated with that sewer odor and I called to find out what was going on. It was a sea day and they are allowed to dispel gray treated water which explained the foul smell. The odor was not inside the ship thankfully but it was not pleasant being on the balcony for a few hours. I would rate this transatlantic a 10. It was nice to see the Millie again after a year. We met some great CC posters and spent a lot of time with them. It is always nice to know a few guests on board and this medium provides us the means to pre-met passengers. The one big negative is that the ship ran out of Johnny Walker Blue in Europe and couldnt buy any so we were disappointed!!! Had to do without Mr. Blue. This go around I am putting up some cruise staff pictures so anyone who has cruised X may get to see a face from the past of some staff member they were fond of. My photo Link: http://entertainment.webshots.com/album/556373807SjqMgH Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2006
SHIP REVIEW Arrived in Barcelona 3 days early. Well worth the days. Toured using the Bus Turista to get a taste of Barcelona, which was great! Stayed at the 5 star Majestic Hotel on Paseo de Gracia (just like 5th ave in NY) fantastic! ... Read More
SHIP REVIEW Arrived in Barcelona 3 days early. Well worth the days. Toured using the Bus Turista to get a taste of Barcelona, which was great! Stayed at the 5 star Majestic Hotel on Paseo de Gracia (just like 5th ave in NY) fantastic! Embarkation: arrived at 12:00pm by taxi from hotel (10 minute drive)to no lines and no waiting. Since we are Captains Club are check in was separate but still a perfect time to arrive for anyone. Boarded our first Celebrity cruise (more than 10 with Royal Caribbean) minutes later. Cabin: #6049 with Balcony is a adjoining cabin which we specifically requested NOT to have but got it and was not able to be switched since the ship was sold out. Do not stay in one unless you want to hear all that goes on in the next cabin. The balcony door was broken so we heard the ocean in our cabin everyday and the curtain was also falling down. We complained several times but the balcony door was never right/quiet nor was the curtain fixed. The bathroom tile was cracked and stained; however, the cabin attendant was exceptional. Dining/Food: We had dinner in the dining room each night except the 1 night we dined at the Olympic (specialty dining) where there was a $30 PP extra charge for this experience. The food was very good and service excellent. You could easily dine for 2 1/2 + hours but we asked to finish within 2 hours since we wanted to continue the evening at a show or casino. The regular dining room food was fair to good and the service excellent. The dinner choices were somewhat limited. We had a table for 8 and one of the couples was on cruisecritic.com and were from Scotland, the other 2 couples were both from England. Entertainment: The shows that I attended were very enjoyable and the individual entertainers very talented. The Celebrity singers and dancers were great and really put on great shows. The port days were long and active so many people didn't attend the late shows but the ship had several predinner shows. Activities: were plentiful to take advantage of and participate. From pool games, to art auction to on board shopping to bingo etc.. Sports activities were also well attended. From basketball which my husband played frequently to golf lessons with Dale the golf pro which my husband raved about and was incredible. Golfing at the Belfry in Scotland with a dining room tablemate at the simulator was splendid. Services: I enjoyed the well equipped workout area and machines at the AquaSpa but was disappointed that several machines were broken the entire trip. I also used a spa service which was good but unhappy being provided with 2 stained and old robes to use. The internet and computer dept was wonderful with helpful assistance and direction. The DSL speed was more than adequate to e-mail and wireless areas abundant. SHORE EXCURSIONS Shore Excursions: This trip really focused on the ports and experiencing a side of the world that is so rich in history and beauty. My husband and I are very active and in our mid 40's. We were not interested in excursions with a bus load of people and having to wait for everyone and go by a schedule. We found several recommended private tours through cruisecritic.com members and booked them. Compared to the ships rate for the same excursions, we opted to go private and so happy we did for all except 3 tours. All of the private tours included all of the ship's recommended sites plus the ability to stop and photograph, shop and eat that we requested. VERY IMPORTANT Nice(Villefranche)for our 1st port Frederick from dream-tours.com toured us through the French Riviera and was wonderful and HIGHLY Recommended. Filled with knowledge and details of all the sites we had a terrific day that included Eze Village, Monaco, Nice, Cannes and St Paul. Another couple (honeymooners from Canada) joined us and we hit it off so well we invited them on all the other tours we booked. They joined us on 3 others.. Florence/Pisa (Livorno, Italy) we used limoinrome.com and our driver Paulo who explained all the sites including the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa and took us to a castle and winery in the Tuscan countryside which was breathtaking. Also HIGHLY Recommended. Florence is a great mecca of shopping and we definitely contributed to Florence's economy. Rome (Civitavecchia, Italy) Vincent was our driver this time through limoinrome.com. We visited every major site and then some. He provided us with explanation and pictures before we toured the site and timed the stops so fantastic that we didn't wait in line for ANY venues. Naples/Capri Our driver from sorrentolimo.com was nice but very disappointing with virtual no communication (he did speak English)or explanation of the sites. We drove the Almalfi Coast and visited Sorrento, Positano and Pompei which is highly recommended..just better with a good driver. These locations are beautiful and breathtaking and a definite MUST. Santorini is a place we want to return to thanks also to Nikos and Anna at santorinitours.com. HIGHLY Recommended. Nikos toured us all over and explained the history and sites. He also is a professional photographer and took pictures of us with his camera throughout the day and provided us a CD of those pictures. This island is absolutely beautiful and fortunate to experience a sunset that compares to no others. We visited the main village of Oai (shopping and picture taking), Fira and the black and red beaches. Our best meal of all the ports was a local favorite, with the best Greek food. Athens tour was provided by Mikis at athenstaxi.net, who was thorough and extremely knowledgeable and HIGHLY recommended. A few other families from the ship (including the Gilbert family we met from cruisecritic.com) used this company and we all had a wonderful time throughout the day meeting up at several sites and all had lunch together at a seaside cafe with excellent food and reasonable prices. Dubrovnik was a ship excursion because we didn't find a recommendation of a private company. I know why now, because one is not needed. This is a port you can do on your own. Walking the walls of the city is the highlight which you can purchase a ticket and walk the walk. It is fascinating and enjoyed the site. Venice day 1 we purchased a water taxi transfer from the ship to St. Marc's Square..the only way to get into the heart of Venice unless you purchase a tour. We did it on our own with the Gilbert family and toured Venice through public water taxis. This is so amazing compared to city bus services..water is the way to go. We purchased a all day water taxi pass that you can use to Murano and Burano and throughout the city. We did purchase a gondola ride through the ship which was quite enjoyable for 45 minutes but again we could have purchased one on our own cheaper. The gondolas held 4-6 people and we were joined by another couple from California that even though it was the last full day of the cruise, became friendly and exchanged e-mail, phone etc. Venice last day and disembarkation included a ship's 4 hour excursion to Padua and airport transfer, all included in price. Our flight was 5:00pm and wanted to have part of the day touring. The ship wouldn't store luggage and we didn't know the airport would store it so we took this tour. This was one we should have planned better to spend more time in Venice. Venice airport is 15 minutes from the port. Either way, it was the most organized and smoothest disembarkation ever to get our luggage and go to the bus. OVERALL EXPERIENCE Overall we expected a step or two above Royal Caribbean and for the most part it was true. The ship is 6 years old and showing its age in many places; however, still classy and laid out well. A refurbishment and "makeover" will be well worth it. The experience was fabulous and the friends we made will be lasting. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
I read all of the reviews for this trip before booking, and continued to read them until we left for our trip. I am not going to try to repeat a lot of things that have been said in previous reviews, but rather update some of the key ... Read More
I read all of the reviews for this trip before booking, and continued to read them until we left for our trip. I am not going to try to repeat a lot of things that have been said in previous reviews, but rather update some of the key points from my point of view. My wife and I travelled with our 9 year old and 18 year old girls. We all had a wonderful time and would love to do it again soon. The 9 year old had a great time on the ship with the other kids, attending the "Fun Factory" almost every day. The staff was great there, and and it gave us some free time which we otherwise would not have had. Most of the time there was no charge, and at meal time there was a $6.00 per hour charge, which I considered reasonable. Our 18 year old had no trouble meeting kids her age. Her only complaint was that on sea days, there were no chairs by the pool, because people would put their towels down early in the day, and by 10:00 there was nowhere to sit. In general the ship was in good condition. I saw nothing to suggest that it needed work. There was no smell that others have remarked about. Everything was spotlessly clean. We booked a concierge class room for ourselves and an inside room across the hall for our daughters. This worked very well. Mary our room attendant was fantastic and could not have been more helpful. Both rooms were clean and well appointed. We were in stateroom 9133, which was mid ship, and very handy to the pool and Ocean's. It was a little noisy at times so perhaps it would be better one level down. I'm not sure I would pay the extra for Concierge Class again. Most of the extras were not worth much...except...We had a great 4 person table next to a window at the second seating. I attribute this to being in Concierge Class. So, I have mixed feelings. We all thought that the food was very good. There was a good selection, and the staff was incredible. I purchased a case of wine in Livorno, and we drank that each night. The wine steward would keep any leftover until the next night, and there was a $15 corkage fee which I thought was fine. The Italian wine was very good and it worked our to be a good value. I was necessary for us to travel in the middle of the summer because of the girls. Needless to say the weather was hot and there were thousands of tourists at every port. Imagine Disneyland on a hot day in the middle of the summer. If you have the choice, I would travel in September or October. We spent two nights in Barcelona prior to the cruise. We love the city and I think that it is well worth spending some time there. After the cruise we flew to Rome for 3 nights. This worked well because there is so much to see in Rome, and it allowed us an extra "at sea" day when everyone else on the ship was in Rome. We flew from Venice to Rome on Air One, a commuter airline. Unfortunately, we had to pay an extra $200 for baggage. They only allowed 44lbs per person, whereas Delta allowed 50 lbs and two bags. Watch this one! This was a great trip and I look forward to our next one. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
Our Cruise on the Millennium July 1st was our 15th cruise and our first in Europe. I have taken my original board review and out it into categories, rather than a diary form to make it easier to read. Off We Go: Continental Airlines from ... Read More
Our Cruise on the Millennium July 1st was our 15th cruise and our first in Europe. I have taken my original board review and out it into categories, rather than a diary form to make it easier to read. Off We Go: Continental Airlines from Newark,NJ. In one word our flight was a nightmare, and it seemed as though we would never arrive in Barcelona. We finally did arrive in Barcelona, and waited a bit for our luggage, met the representative from Celebrity and put on the bus rather quickly. Unfortunately it was quite a bit later that we actually started moving, because we had to fill up our bus. Embarkation: It took us literally 5 minutes. We got on the express pass line(there was no line) and we were on the ship 5 minutes later. Just as we boarded we heard an announcement that passengers could now get into their rooms. We were greeted with Champagne and cookies but did not receive an escort to our room. The Cabin: Cabin 8112. I had been in a similar cabin in April so I knew exactly what to expect. What we didn't expect and were really not pleased about was the mold in the bathroom. The mold was in the shower and the bathroom walls. The other unexpected surprise was that our toilet did not work. We did not get a resolution to the toilet problem for almost 4 hours. The mold was never resolved, despite repeated requests. There is ample space for clothes although you might need to get a little creative with some of the space. We had 4 suitcases and were able to get two under the bed. Room Attendant: Not the best we have ever had, and not the worst. I did not feel as though he wanted to go above and beyond, although his assistant did. Other staff members put themselves out, this person seemed to only do what he needed to, no more no less. Dining room: Table 505: We had a wonderful experience in the dining room. our waiter and busboy anticipated our every need. I had explained to Sanjaya our waiter the first night that I had terrible food allergies, and he made sure that everything I had was safe for me to eat. The only thing we noticed which was not really a problem for us, was that our food was never hot. The food overall was excellent. There were a few nights were my allergies prevented me from eating anything on the existing menu, and our waiter, went out of his way to help me with alternatives. Breakfast and Lunch: We never ate in the dining room, but ate up on deck 10. I liked the hamburger grill, sandwich/wrap station, and spa cuisine. The buffets were not that great, but the individual stations were wonderful. Gourmet Bites: Since we never got out of the dining room until 11pm..we couldn't even try them, but they looked really good. Cova Cafe: Loved the frozen coffee drinks..Never tried the pastry cart. Drinks: Soda for me, my husbands drinks in the dining room were made well. Shows: The shows were good. The big production shows were the same as they were in April, and I thought the previous group was better than this one. Sometimes the shows were hard to attend when they had a pre-show for late seating passengers. Many of the tours were 10.5 hours long, and we were exhausted by the time we got back to the ship. pre-shows also did not get attended well in general. We felt badly for one excellent performer who only had about 40 people attend his show. Activities on the ship: We attended art lectures by Justin Newell, the art historian on board. He was excellent. I learned so much useful information to take with me on my tour the following day. We also attended port/shopping talks which were informative. Slot machines which were pretty friendly. We did not do any of the Captains Club activities, because they always seemed to be opposite something else we wanted to do. Spa: I had a full body healing massage, and then a scalp massage. Both massages were very relaxing. The first massage I was not pressured into buying products, the second one just a little. I was a little disappointed because I had requested the same person the 2nd time, and wasn't told until I was there that she was off. I didn't find the reception staff in the spa very friendly. Other staff: We found the rest of this ship's staff to be exceptionally friendly and helpful. The Guest Relations desk went out of their way to help us with a few problems that had come up. Tours: Outstanding with the exception of one tour. The tour guides were incredible, knowledgeable, personable, fun. We opted to do all the ships tours this time, and we don't regret it. There were several extraneous factors which could have ruined a tour if we had done it on our own, and with the ship's tours we knew we were safe. Villefranche: Tenders: Our first port and what a picturesque port. Our tour was at 1:30pm. Monte Carlo and the Grand Casino. Great tour guide. Won on the good old Red white and Blue machine. Florence Italy: Note: If you want any real shopping time on these tours you need to take "A Taste OF" tours which leaves you plenty of time to shop. We had 45 minutes on our tour, which was okay since we knew what we wanted, but we had to scramble. Florence is breathtaking. You need much more than a day to see everything. The Baptistery doors(Go to the art historian's lectures) we felt so smart understanding ahead of time what panel signifies what and how to read the panels. Lunch was included and was a typical Italian Lunch. Rome: Several things have come into play with this port. There was a wildcat taxi strike in Rome which was playing havoc with traffic. The Pope was giving his last speech of the summer, and the usual crowds were doubled because of these 2 events. Our guide was absolutely fantastic. She figured out how we could still do everything we were supposed to, despite the obstacles..So we saw the Vatican Museum, and the Sistine Chapel. We could not get to St. Peter's Basilica, so we went to the Roman Coliseum, then had lunch and finally went back to the Basilica. The re-arranged schedule worked perfectly! Naples: This was the port we decided to do the Exclusive tour. This was the most fantastic tour we have been on, on any of our cruises. There are no words to describe how wonderful our tour guide, bus mates, driver were. The Amalfi Coast is breathtaking. If you have motion sickness beware its twisty and turny, but oh so worth it. Positano and Sorrento are not to be missed. Pompeii was great and we were lucky that the heat was not what was expected. What history! Santorini:Tender: Choppy water! The only bad tour. We went on a wine tasting tour where we were promised old fashioned grape stomping, but where we were taken was a modern factory. Our guide seemed almost bored and really did little to make the tour interesting. There was a tour escort on our tour that told us she was going to let Celebrity know how disappointing this tour was. We decided to meet some friends in Fira where our tour left us, for dinner at the Sphinx. Its a beautiful cliff side place where you can drink and eat and watch an incredible sunset. $$$$$ As we got ready to leave Santorini a yacht nearby gave us a fireworks display which was a nice surprise. The fireworks lasted for about 10 minutes and just filled the sky with color. Note** It was windy and chilly when the sun went down in Santorini. Athens: Pouring down rain at the Acropolis: We had 3 hours to shop at the Plaka. Guide was very good, very informative. Bought a tapestry, lots of shops, high pressure, especially the food places. Note* Don't eat in outdoor cafe called Sikiness. Croatia: Hot hard to breathe there.. Shuttle bus (No tour today) $10.00. No air on the bus.. Walled City overcrowded and hot. Too much for us we went back and spent the afternoon at the pool. Venice: Arrival 11am Entrance into the Grand Canal is beautiful. Masterpieces of Venice tour..EXCELLENT! Evening Gondola ride..disappointing..4 people to a Gondola, so you end up with people you don't know...next time we will go alone. Debarkation: smoother than smooth.. Venice airport: We were there by 8:20 and our flight to Milan wasn't until 12:20pm...NOTE you can't check in until 2 hours before, so we had to find a place to wait with all our luggage. When we finally got to the gate...It a free for all!! Assorted observations and tips: We had bought a scale from Magellens for $7.50 to make sure our luggage was not overweight...it was a great investment...I also bought these neck cooler things that you wet in water and then you can put in the refrig..which weigh nothing and keep you cool for hours...QVC.. You want to have lots of $5 and $10 Euros for tipping on the tours etc.. If you are CC class and can't have or don't like fish they will give you cheese and crackers with some fruit.. If there is nothing on the menu that you want to eat...aside from the steak and chicken which are always available, you can also ask for pasta....If there is a pasta dish you want but something else looks even better..you can ask if you can have an appetizer size portion of the pasta... Make sure you check you mini-bar bill carefully...we were charged for things we never used... If you are a size small don't wait to buy a jacket or sweatshirt in the shops on the ship...if they have smalls they are the first to go... Cova Cafe not to be missed!! Safe in room was fine...we had no problems....there are no safety deposit boxes.. Excursions were the best and most organized we have seen...and this was our 15th cruise.. Sea days at the spa fill up almost immediately so make your reservations as soon as you board...same for the alternative dining... We bought smaller cards for our camera..so if our camera was stolen we would not lose everything....We burned them to a CD each day...and we took more than 900 pictures...once you burn them though you can't add to the same CD... We used under the clothes wallets and had no problems..My husband and another gentleman did feel someone lightly touch their back pocket...Just be careful and wise...we only carried one credit card each and enough cash for that day...we wore little to no jewelry.. Beware of the kids...and beware of gypsies with babies...they will pretend to almost drop it..and while you go to grab it...they take your wallet... we were told they are not even real babies but dolls...Just be smart and you will be fine! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
This site proved informative for me as I prepared for our family vacation and I hope to do the same for your family. We traveled a party of 7, Grandma 68, My husband and I, our four young children...the girls 8 and 6, the boys 4 and 2. ... Read More
This site proved informative for me as I prepared for our family vacation and I hope to do the same for your family. We traveled a party of 7, Grandma 68, My husband and I, our four young children...the girls 8 and 6, the boys 4 and 2. We are from Danville California right outside of San Francisco. The Millennium proved to be our safe haven! There was something for each one of us! We loved the service, the staff. We were prepared to be the only people with young children only to find out this cruise had over 100 little people! I thought it would be mostly elderly couples but there were so many families. The children loved the Fun Factory! Shipmates and Cadets as they were referred. They were busy doing crafts, going to ice cream together, tours backstage, they met the dancers, toured the bridge. They met children from different countries, Mexico, Canada, England, India, and the East Coast. They had a talent show and did a group skit. At the different ports Rome, Santorini, Venice you could hear their little voices saying hello to one another in Piazza Navona, St. Peter's Square, playing with pigeons in San Marco Square, riding in the tenders from and to beautiful Santorini and Villefranche France. Children are so friendly it was so refreshing. I was actually able to find a sitter for my two year old, here and there which gave my husband and I alone time when we wanted it. The food was plentiful, fresh and healthy. Our rooms were very well kept. My mother-in-law shared a deluxe room with balcony with the two girls and my husband and I were with the boys. Our rooms were side by side and we could talk to each other via our balconies. There is a fold out bunk bed that the housekeeper sets up in the evenings. The beds were surprisingly comfortable. My mother-in-law is a seasoned cruiser and enjoyed the casino, and upscale shopping on board. She felt the entertainment wasn't quite up to par but enjoyed it none-the-less. She enjoyed retrieving all the port and formal night photos...she loved her morning coffee service and her balcony! She enjoyed how well kept her room was. She too enjoyed how kind the staff was to the children especially Olessia, Vanessa,Karla and Stephanie. My husband and I had the time of our lives. We are avid boaters and really enjoyed seeing Europe via the ship. At the different ports we hired our own driver's and designed our own excursions which proved perfect for us. We loved the ports and felt we were at each one long enough. On board we ate Sushi, Formal, Buffet, Hamburgers poolside the staff was eager to accommodate any of our needs. We were as busy as we wanted to be on any given day. It was so healthy for our ten year marriage. We walk away from the Millennium with a fond farewell. Arrivederci, Tutti Grazie Celebrity Millennium! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
Our family of 4 sailed on the 7/25/06 trip from Barcelona to Venice. This was our fifth cruise. First time on Celebrity and in Europe. The procedure to clear customs in Spain was quite disorganized but did move along. Celebrity transferred ... Read More
Our family of 4 sailed on the 7/25/06 trip from Barcelona to Venice. This was our fifth cruise. First time on Celebrity and in Europe. The procedure to clear customs in Spain was quite disorganized but did move along. Celebrity transferred us without a problem from the airport to the ship. The ship was lovely and the crew was great. The service was definitely the best we have ever received. The room was small even by cruise ship standards. We had trouble storing our empty suitcases. (Thank goodness we only brought one each.) Because it was our first trip to Europe, I did a lot of research on our ports and what we most wanted to see. Also, with 4 of us I knew it would be very expensive to sign up for the ship excursions. As a result, we ended up doing every stop on our own, which I found very rewarding. One of my only complaints with Celebrity was the Guest Relations desk. Every time we asked for directions from the port to train stations, we got very sketchy information and told it was a longer walk than what it actually is. One time the desk clerk told me that I could not get a taxi from the port and that I would need to take the Celebrity shuttle. Of course later that day I learned that taxis in port were plentiful and I could have saved money and time by taking one instead of the ship shuttle. My point is this, even if you have never been to Europe before, do your research and you can handle the stops on your own if you don't want to go with the "herd". We did get a guide and used the Celebrity Connections on this site to gather a group for Rome. We used When In Rome Tours and the guide we had, Julia, was terrific. With only 8 in the group, we saw the Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon and the Vatican Museum along with the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. Everyone in our family agreed it was our favorite stop. The people in Athens were the most friendly and helpful I've ever met. The food was very good on the ship. Our waiter, Viorel was great. He wouldn't let us go with no dessert, even if it was just a fruit plate. Our cabin steward, Milford was also great, he always had a smile and was very helpful. Overall it was a terrific cruise experience. The stops gave us a nice overview of the Mediterranean and a good idea of where we would like to go back and explore more. The music in the fitness room was awful or we would have used it more. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
My wife and I flew from Miami to Barcelona, via Madrid, on American and Iberia. It was a very smooth flight. We stayed at the Apsis Splendid, a nice little hotel close to Placa Catalunya. Overall a great location for La Ramblas and the ... Read More
My wife and I flew from Miami to Barcelona, via Madrid, on American and Iberia. It was a very smooth flight. We stayed at the Apsis Splendid, a nice little hotel close to Placa Catalunya. Overall a great location for La Ramblas and the Barri Gothic and old port. We had a nice Paella dinner in the old port, walked around and even went to the beach for an after dinner stroll. Barcelona is well worth an early day or 2 arrival, as it is a beautiful, easily navigable city, and has great restaurants, especially fresh seafood. Sunday morning we walked the Ramblas and people watched as we sipped Cafe con Leche, and then went to the port for embarkation. As with previous Celebrity embarkations this was extremely smooth. We had lunch on board and then unpacked our luggage, which had already gotten to the cabin, an outside cabin with balcony on Vista deck (7022). We liked the cabin a lot. It had plenty of room for 2 people, plenty of storage space, and we liked the balcony and the view it gave us of some beautiful sunrises and sunsets. After unpacking we walked off the ship and took some great pictures and had a short walk. We had cruised on Summit and Constellation and so knew the ship very well. We like Millennium a lot and felt right at home. After we sailed we had late sitting dinner, and had an early night. The first sea day was spent relaxing and enjoying the ship. It is worth mentioning that this cruise is a great way to see the "Must See" cities of the Mediterranean. It is port extensive, however, and you need to trade off the late night shows, disco, buffets and partying if you want to get up at 6am for the tours and early arrivals at each port. You simply can not do it all! We had an early night and set our alarm phone call for 6am. Villefranche is a beautiful quiet little town, and it is easy to visit Nice, Monte Carlo or Cannes from here. We took the train to Nice, walked the old town, and the Coeurs Saleya Flower market, the old port and then caught the bus to Monaco. After a short walk around Monte Carlo we took a train back toward Villefranche. We got off the train at Beaulieu Sur Mer, the next town to Villefranche. We then spent the afternoon walking all the way around Cap Ferrat. Cap Ferrat is peaceful, beautiful and very quiet. There is a footpath which goes all the way around, although the path is uneven in parts, and hilly. To walk all around the cape will take you 3-5 hours. After walking around we relaxed for a while on the beach in Villefranche, and had a drink at one of the bars on the front. Late dinner was followed by a visit to Cova Cafe Milano (our favorite location on Millennium) The Spanish guitarist playing there or on the stern on the ship was one of the highlights of the ship's entertainment. The 6am phone alarm came too soon, but the all day tour for Pisa and Florence left at 7.30am. Florence and Pisa are beautiful, and well worth a visit. Florence in particular is incredibly beautiful. Italian traffic is notoriously busy, so I would recommend that ship's tours are the way to go when you want to visit the tourist meccas of Florence, Rome or Naples. If you are late, delayed in traffic, or on the train, or bus, then you will be out of luck if you miss the ship. These were the only 3 days that we took ships tours, and I would not consider doing these cities any other way. After a 10 hour tour and a late dinner it was time to set the alarm for another 6am wake up call for Rome the next day, and another 10 hour tour. Rome's traffic is awful. The bus to Rome arrived just in time for rush hour. We parked and walked to the Trevi Fountain. From there we walked through central Rome, the Roman Forum and ended up at the Coliseum. The Coliseum is spectacular by any standards and well worth a visit. After our visit to the Coliseum my wife and I were dumbfounded to see that we then had to get back on the bus and drive back out of Rome to have lunch. It took 1 hour to get to the restaurant, 1 hour to have lunch and 1 hour to then drive back to St Peter's Basilica and Vatican City. This was the only problem we had with the 3 tours we took. It left us just a little over 1 1/2 hours in the Vatican. All too soon we were back on the bus heading back to the port at Civitavecchia. We arrived just in time. If we had been on our own we would have had problems. Another early night after dinner, and a 6am alarm. The next day we were in Naples. This was our third 6am wake up call for a 7.30am 10 hour tour. We arrived at Pompeii before it opened, allowing us the treat of enjoying Pompeii before the crowds arrived. Sorrento, for lunch, however, was overrun with tour buses. We could not help but think what it must be like in these tourist centers in July and August, when the Europeans go on holidays. Sorrento was beautiful and after lunch we took the ferry to Capri. Capri is spectacular, especially the ocean side of the island. To see Pompeii, have lunch and see Capri in one day can only really be done by ship's tour. If you want to go on your own I would not recommend that you try to visit any more than 1 of these locations. After 4 ports in 4 days the sea day was much appreciated. Rest was understandably the order of the day. The ship is a great place to relax. Service and food in the restaurant is consistently excellent. There are many bars and places to relax, including the outside pool deck and also the inside pool, both of which were heavily used on this cruise. The weather was wonderful, especially when we remembered that this was still only mid May. The gym and the spas are among the largest afloat and one of our favorites. The casual lunch and breakfast cafes are run of the mill, and not up to the same standard as the main restaurant, in my opinion. I do not like the fact that you have to make a reservation for the bistro alternative dining in a corner of the buffet area. Sometimes you don't know what you want to do for dinner until you get back from ashore. If you don't make reservations you have to go to the main restaurant or make do with pasta and the sushi bar. The sushi bar was consistently good, however. Celebrity is still a very traditional cruise line in the area of dining I feel, and I do not feel that this cruise lends itself to this type of restricted dining options. A little more dining flexibility would be a good innovation. After the sea day we arrived in Santorini. Wow! Santorini is one of the most beautiful places we have ever visited. The pictures do not do it justice. It is spectacular. My wife and I were on the first tender, and up the cable car into Fira, before the early tours had disembarked. We walked to Oia, and must say that we were more than a little surprised in the reviews we had previously read that led us to believe that the walk was on a simple footpath. We walk a lot and this was not a simple footpath. It was quite literally up and over 2 very large hills. To say it was a spectacular walk, however, would be an understatement. Santorini is one of the most beautiful places with it's whitewashed buildings, blue church domes and buildings perched on top of the sheer caldera cliffs. We took the bus half way back to Fira, and then walked the rest of the way on the cliff side to Fira. The sunset was spectacular. We sat on the stern of the ship, listening to Spanish guitar music, watching the light change, enjoying a drink and gazing at the beauty of Santorini. Truly magical! The next day we arrived in Athens, again at 7am. We disembarked early, walked around the port to the far side of the ferry terminals and found the railway station. It is outside of Gate E6. If you leave the cruise terminal and keep on turning left around the port you will come to the railway station. The trains to Athens are regular and Monistariaki, the stop for the Acropolis and Parthenon, is stop #7. The Acropolis and The Plaka are well worth a visit. Athens is always hot, and after walking through the ruins and the narrow streets of the Plaka we had lunch, and made our way back to the ship. We enjoyed the pool for a late afternoon swim. After dinner we sat on our balcony and enjoyed our sailing away. The final sea day was spent enjoying the ship and relaxing. We even caught one of the shows. The entertainment is not what sets Celebrity apart. The shows are good but not exceptional. The food in the restaurant and service throughout the ship is excellent but the Olympic Restaurant is truly special. The food there is exceptional and we had a great dinner on the final sea day. Do not sail on a Millennium class ship without trying the specialty restaurant. You will be disappointed if you do. Dubrovnik is a beautiful city, and not to be missed. Although I had seen many of these ports previously this was my first visit here, and I was not disappointed. The city walls are easy to walk, as are the narrow alleys and streets. After exploring for a while we walked to the beach and enjoyed a little time there. Nothing can prepare you for the beauty for Santorini on this cruise. In the same way nothing on earth can compare with the thrill of sailing into Venice for the first time. Sailing through the channels and twists and turns and then past St Mark's and the Grand Canal is inspiring. Venice is a wonderful city, one which everyone should see at least once in their lives. The narrow alleys, canals and the bustle of the Grand Canal create a magical city, which is truly unique. If you embark here then come early. If you disembark then stay over or make sure that you at least get an overnight stay. Venice is completely different after dark. We disembarked after a much too quick cruise and flew home, via London. With booking our own flights way in advance we got a great price and were able to make our own arrangements. We stayed over in London and went to a West End show and had dinner with my sister at one of Gordon Ramsey's restaurants, all in all a perfect way to end a perfect cruise. This is a cruise I would recommend to anyone considering a European cruise. The culture, history and beauty of these great European cities is incomparable. If you want a sampling of these great locations then this is the cruise for you. Celebrity is a fabulous cruise line. The food, service and facilities are all first class. Their ships are clubby, warm and friendly, and make a really inviting base to travel on. If you can spring for a balcony go ahead. It really adds to the experience. At the least try to get an outside cabin to enjoy the passing views and sunrises and sunsets from. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
First, a little background. I am 63 and my wife is 59 and we have completed 12 cruises, the most recent on the Celebrity Millennium. Previously we have cruised on NCL (3), Costa (1), Royal Caribbean (1), and our favorite Holland America ... Read More
First, a little background. I am 63 and my wife is 59 and we have completed 12 cruises, the most recent on the Celebrity Millennium. Previously we have cruised on NCL (3), Costa (1), Royal Caribbean (1), and our favorite Holland America (6). We chose this cruise because of the great itinerary and because Celebrity is rated as a "premium" cruise line as is Holland America. These are my comments regarding our experiences on this cruise. 1. Embarkation process - absolute flawless. We literally walked onto the ship to our room which was ready. Our luggage showed up less than two hours later. 2. Condition of ship - For a ship that is only six years old, many items showed excessive wear. Most notable was the condition of the toilet seats found in our cabin and throughout the ship in the public restrooms. They were ALL badly worn, chipped, and stained. One was completely broken! For any cruise line this is disgusting. For a so called premium cruise line, this condition is unacceptable. We also noticed that many pieces of furniture in the public areas of the ship were badly stained and worn. The bedspread in our cabin was stained very bad which was beyond disgusting. The cheap plastic shower curtain in our cabin was worn and frayed on the bottom and should have been replaced long ago. The beds were like cheap cots with thin mattresses and pillows that were like bricks. 3. Shore Excursions - These were extremely well organized with absolutely no problems other than having unfit people with us that had no business being on such strenuous adventures. Unfortunately this is something you have to put up with on all cruises. 4. Staff - These people were the highlight of our cruise. Because Celebrity still leaves tipping up to the customer, service remains very high. Every staff person we encountered was kind, courteous, and attentive - just like the old days before automatic tipping. 5. Entertainment - We only watched two shows which consisted of the usual singers and dancers. Both were very high quality and professionally done. 6. Food - On a scale of 1 to 10, we gave both the cafeteria on deck 10 and the main dining room about an 8. We tried the Olympic Restaurant on deck 3 only because it was a gift from our travel agent. The atmosphere in the Olympic as stunning because of the ornate paneling which was salvaged from the Olympic which was the sister ship to the Titanic. Seeing this room really gives you an insight into how opulent those old ships were about 100 years ago. Not being a "foodie" and not being impressed with the tableside show the waiters put on, I would not recommend paying the extra money to eat there. I would however strongly recommend going there during the day just to look around and take photos. 7. Internet Facility - Like all cruise lines, this service is an absolute rip-off. The charges are $.75 per minute or 100 minutes for $70, 200 minutes for $120, or 500 minutes for $250. If you are used to the speed of a dial-up ISP, you will be happy with this service. However if you have any type of high speed service at home, you will go to sleep waiting for each page to load. 8. Debarkation Process - Extremely efficient system that is different from other cruise lines. Other than our bus being 20 minutes late, we encountered no other problem. Bottom line, would I go on another Celebrity cruise? No way. If we cruise again is will most certainly be on a Holland America ship. Thanks for your time. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
This was a cruise for my 27-year old daughter and myself (50+ mom). We have crusied before in the Carribean and have also been to Europe several times, but not on a cruise. In fact, I have really enjoyed traveling thru Europe by train and ... Read More
This was a cruise for my 27-year old daughter and myself (50+ mom). We have crusied before in the Carribean and have also been to Europe several times, but not on a cruise. In fact, I have really enjoyed traveling thru Europe by train and have been on trips thru Italy, France and Spain. Quite a few of the places we were to visit on this cruise we had visited before, which played a part in our choice of excursions in port. But my daughter wanted to do something different this year and a cruise it was to be. We have cruised Celebrity, HAL, RCCL and Costa before; Celebrity being the line we like best. When we decided to book the cruise I liked the itinerary - I had never been to Greece and have recently heard alot about Dubrovnik, so the ports offerred some old favorites along with a few new places. We actually booked somewhat at the last minute (at least by our usual planning standards). About a month and a half before the sail date we booked an inside cabin over the internet, then about a week or so later I decided to upgrade to a "Verandah Guarantee" cabin. Boy did that work out for us! We ended up on a verandah in Concierge Class at the back of the boat - 7212 - it was fantastic. The largest cabin I have ever been in (it was handicap accessible) and the balcony was just HUGE. I am so glad I decided to spend the bucks to do that upgrade. I loved the little extras that came with the CC cabin - fresh flowers, afternoon nibbles, priority tendering and also it helped put us in the late dinner seating which was great for a European cruise. Gave me time to take a nap, then sit out on the balcony, sip some wine and then go to dinner! Here are some general observations - then I will cover the ports. We like the food on Celebrity - we live in Atlanta so we are used to good restaurants. I have also spent a lot of time on my other European trips enjoying the local cuisine....a vacation is alot about food to me. Now I don't necessarily like the very highbrow gourmet food...but well prepared foods with good ingredients. I would rate the Celebrity food good or very good. As others have said, listen to what your waiter tells you is good that evening; the items I had that I would say were mediocre were those not suggested by the waiter (but he was always willing to then bring me a second item that I should have ordered in the first place!) We had some very nice fish, my daughter likes beef and it was usually very good with tastey sauces. We like the dining room experience and we were fortunate to have some great table mates. Another family with a daughter the same age as my daughter and a single woman...in fact we enjoyed our table so much we never ate away from the table on any nite except the one that was "open seating" - the nite we were in Santorini. We always think about going to the specialty restaurant, but in the end decide against it - the food in the dining room is definately very good - why pay more? But I must admit I did miss some of my usual European vacation foods - as good as the food was, it was not the same as what we usually eat on the land in Italy, France or Spain. Our shipboard activities are limited! We like to sun, I usually walk several miles on the track, my daughter went to the gym...we do not go for the entertainment so I have no comments on the shows. We went to Karaoke one night and it was pitiful, but maybe everyone was tuckered out from the land excursions. The passengers were definitley older than on a Carribean cruise. Very few my daughters age - except a few honeymoon couples. But I must say, even though the crowd was a bit older, they loved to dance! The rendezvous lounge was always buzzing before dinner. I think they had a guest professor on board our trip providing some musical entertainment and maybe lectures. They also had an art historian that gave talks on Italian and Spanish art on sea days - I very much enjoyed those! Ports - we flew in one nite eary to Barcelona, stayed on a hotel right on Las Ramblas. I love Barcelona, would have loved to stay longer! If you have never been to Barcelona before, it would be good to do the Hop on - Hop off bus...it will cover most of the highlights of this amazing city. Villefrance - we walked around the city and out towards Cap Ferrat as we have stayed in Nice and toured the general area before. Nice beach in Villefrance....had a wonderful scallop risotto in Cosmos reaturant near the waterfront in the old city. Livorno - we bought the ship's transfers here....waste of money. Didn't take you to the train station. We ended up getting a taxi at the port to go directly to the train. We did a trip on our own to Lucca where we rented bikes and explored the ramparts....great day! Cittavecchi - again bought the ships transfers. Here the taxis could not come to the ship (that I could tell) but maybe here was a free shuttle bus. It was way too long to walk in tho. It was very confusing and frustrating to me the different port situations. The ship did not always give clear and helpful instructions on how to do the ports on your own. If you don't plan to do ship excursions try to find out ahead of time (by posting on the boards I guess) about how to get from the dock to a point where you can do your own thing. Several of the docks were a long ways and in very pedestrian unfriendly areas from where you needed to be). Anyway at this port we went into Rome on our own as we have been there and done the main tourist things previously. But if you have not this is definitely a place to buy a ship excursion if you want to maximize your time on the land. Naples - WOW - I knew Naples was chaotic as we have come thru it before on the way to Capri. I planned to go to the Archeological museum on my own and then do a "Rick Steve's walk" around the city. None of the taxis at the dock would take me to the museum - wanted to score full day trips to Pompeii! I did eventually get one across the street - got to the museum - they would not sell me a ticket without correct change! Eventually got my bill changed by buying a phone card and went to the museum which I ended up enjoying a lot. Also stopped by a local grocery store to restock my in room wine bar - the store was as chaotic and crowded as the rest of the city! The Amalfi coast is much more enjoyable than the city - do yourself a favor and splurge on a car and driver for this shore excursion. Santorini - took a taxi to Kalmata (something like that!) beach. This was another great day! Beach is black pebbles - tough on the feet but a great place to sun worship. And here is the best part....there were very nice chaise lounges and umbrellas for FREE FREE FREE. In France we have had to pay 15 Euros each for similar set ups, so we were happy to have a value day on the beach. Ate at a beachside restaurant - the view was better than the food (I was looking forward to my Greek tasties) but the wine was cheap and pleasant so overall the day was a winner. Athens - I had gotten info from the internet as to how to get from the port to the city but it didn't work for me. First of all it was VERY HOT at 10am. I exited the boat thru a confusing complex crowded with many people heading to the Greek ferries to be met by an aggressive swarm of taxi drivers. I attempted to find the metro, but again the area was very pedestrian unfriendly. I headed back to the boat! That evening our table mates told us they had taken a taxi to town (25 Euros) and the metro back. The young woman said the walk from the metro to the boat was a "deathmarch" - fairly long and very hot. Well, I'll see Athens another time! Dubrovnik - WOW - drop dead gorgeous. I would love to return to this city and spend some leisurely time there and along the coast. We did not get any of the local currency - had our credit card and Euros - however to walk the walls you need the local money. Oh well...next time. Went to lunch at a restuarant suggested by a shopowner - mostly locals and some crew from the ship there. I decided I wanted sea food - so I ordered a grilled fish. It came on a plate with head, tail, bone in......I looked expectantly at the waiter, then I realized I AM NOT ON THE SHIP!!! I did manage to debone and enjoy it but they sure do spoil you onboard, don't they? Venice - did not purchase the ship's shuttle tickets, but it was a bit of a walk to Piazza Romale. We wanted to walk to locate our hotel when we were not dragging our bags. The shuttle goes to St. Marks. Venice was VERY crowded - try to get away from the crowds after you have seen St. Marks. There are nice places to eat on the Zattarere where you can watch a lot of the boats buzzing by and be away from the throngs. I must admit the ship sailing into Venice was great (tho I know these big ships must be part of the high water problem!!) They play opera as the ship sails in - I started crying - it was just such a LIFE IS GREAT moment! My daughter was apalled! The next day when we disembarked, lo and behold there was a free shuttle bus to Piazza Romale where you can connect to a bus that takes you to the airport. We stayed an extra night in Venice - it is so amazing! I am weary of this report! To summarize - we enjoyed this trip very much but I missed being on the land in Europe. It was great to just unpack one time and visit so many great places, and the access in from the ports was frustrating at times. If you spend the money for the ship excursions it would make it a lot less hassel in most of the ports. The vacation was just a little too much on the boat for me - tho don't get me wrong I like the ship. Perhaps the food quality has gone down a bit but it is still good. My daughter loves the sushi, I like the salmon in the aquaspa. The buffet, pasta, grill options for lunch were not always fabulous, but there were always tastey morsels to be found. One day there was some grilled shrimp that were great! The service and crew were wonderful (that is one aspect that wins it over the land in Europe where at times the service is bit surly or unfriendly!) I wish Celebrity spent a few bucks on fresh flowers - the artifical arrangements looked tired. Feel free to email me any questions you might have. This is a great itinerary - if this is your first trip to Europe it will give you many ideas of where you want to go in the future and spend more time on the land! Bon voyage! SueC12 Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
Review of the Celebritys Millennium Transatlantic Cruise Beginning November 18th and ending December 2nd, 2005 The Memorable Celebrity Staff: Master - Captain Michael Karatzas Hotel Director  Renato Chizzola Chief Engineer  Ioannis ... Read More
Review of the Celebritys Millennium Transatlantic Cruise Beginning November 18th and ending December 2nd, 2005 The Memorable Celebrity Staff: Master - Captain Michael Karatzas Hotel Director  Renato Chizzola Chief Engineer  Ioannis Pepes Staff Captain  Spyros Konidaris Executive Chef  Jean Paul Cruise Director  Don Fluke Food and Beverage Mgr  Shelton Thompson Asst Hotel Mgr  Gary Abbs Restaurant Mgr  Chaydee Maitre D  Steve Haigh Our Butler  Alex Mascarenhas Stateroom Attendant and Assistant  Michael and Neil Waiter  Dario, Asst  Israel Concierge  Gary, Asst - Janet David Captains Club Hostess - Brenda We just returned from the western transatlantic on Celebritys Millennium ship (referred to as Millie from this point forward) sailing from Barcelona, Spain to Fort Lauderdale, Fl. I booked this cruise at the last minute in October. We had a fabulous time when sailing on her to Europe in May, 2005 and woke up one day in October and decided it would be nice to take her back from Europe. The Millie was due for dry dock in France the week of November 6th. As indicated by Celebrity, the contractor filed for bankruptcy the week before the scheduled dry dock and Celebrity had to find another company to facilitate their needs. Therefore, guest sailing and departure was delayed by two days to Sunday November 20th. Despite the delay, the Celebrity more than made up for the inconvenience by providing everyone generous options. They offered to refund the entire cruise package; OR either (1) pay up to $250 per person for changing flights; OR (2) 2 nights stay at a four star Barcelona Hotel with a full breakfast, and free transfers to the ship. Also they included a 20% direct refund of the price paid for the cruise (excluding taxes and port charges) and $200 to $300 cabin credit depending on the cabin category. Barcelona: We took a non stop flight to JFK from Florida and a non stop flight from JFK to Barcelona. We arrived in Barcelona at 9:30 am, were greeted by cheery Celebrity Folks and whisked to our hotel. My wife and I were placed in a beautiful hotel in the Olympic District, the Icaria Hotel, which was close to the beach, Metro and shopping. Our room was promptly given to us upon arrival at about 11 am. We were impressed with the rooms modern dEcor, the furniture and the marble bath. The king size bed was new and we slept well after traveling all night. There were a bunch of restaurants nearby and we had a variety of foods available. The first night I walked to a close-by Chinese Restaurant and ordered standard Chinese take-out food for 2, costing 20 euros. On Saturday morning we awoke early and went down to a full breakfast with a variety of eggs, bacon, breads of all kinds, fruits, potato pie, juices, coffee and tea. To ensure efficiency, Celebrity sent representatives to the hotels to pre-check passengers on the Millie. This allowed us to receive our room keys and proceed directly to the ship on Sunday without additional lines at the port. This was the best check-in we have had thus far, since we were saved from dealing with mass luggage transport and port lines. I purchased a category 2C but was assigned stateroom 7135 (category 2B) before I left home so I was pleased. On Saturday, we connected met up with a friend we met on the airplane from JFK to Barcelona and spent the day touring Barcelona with her. We took the Metro to La Ramblas and walked a 3 mile radius from there, seeing most everything. On Saturday night we all ate at the Wharf in the Olympic Plaza. It was pricey but well worth it. We had a five course meal overlooking the Mediterranean Sea with local wine and dessert. It was great having two free nights in Barcelona; we had not toured this city for a few years and its a beautiful place to visit. For us, this deviation in cruise plans was an unexpected surprise. On Sunday, like clockwork, a bus arrived at the hotel at 12:40 pm and picked all 40 of us up with our luggage (which we left outside our hotel room door) and took us to the ship. As expected, we were whisked to our staterooms without wait. As a very loyal Celebrity cruiser, Elite member and non-complainer and good tipper in the past, I was once again fortunate enough to be offered the option to upgrade to a Celebrity Suite (CS), which is the third nicest stateroom/suite on the ship. Some may argue that the CS is nicer than a Royal Suite (RS) with the beautiful picture window and large Jacuzzi tub in the master bath. It was a beautiful room with a separate bedroom, dining and living room area. I attached the link to my website that shows pictures of the suite. The specific financial details of my upgrade is not subject for disclosure per agreement (handshake) with Celebrity, but as a frequent cruiser I had to pinch myself a few times to make sure this was all real. Although the Celebrity Suite is not the Penthouse by any means, the room was immaculate and I couldnt have asked for more considering I had just booked this cruise in October. The old adage goes: be nice to people, treat everyone with deference and good things will happen to you. This is a living example of my philosophy. They remember the good passengers! Upon stepping onto the ship I was reunited with many of the same personnel that we met on the May 05 cruise. We met the Hotel Director, Mr. Renato Chizzola, his assistant Gary Abbs, the Concierge Gary and the Maitre D Steve Haigh. It is always nice to greet the same staff on ship providing us a sense of being home or with family. On Celebrity they try to make everyone feel like a CFM (Celebrity Family Member) and my wife and I sure feel like we belong to this extended familyin reality though, the CFM term is specific to Celebrity staff (not guests). Since we rested in Barcelona we were ready to venture out in Nice on Day 2. The shore excursion to Monte Carlo and Monaco was great and we all got casino entrance passes to gamble, or just watch the gamblers and check it out. The Monaco Palace tour was very interesting also. One note though, the bus steps are very steep and some seniors may have problems entering and leaving the bus. To get to the bus loading area we had to climb a bunch of stairs which also may be difficult for some seniors. Another item worth mentioning is toilets in Europe. You need to take small change with you on the tours for rest rooms entrance. On my next European tour I will have a bunch of 20 cent euros to accommodate us. On day 3 (at sea) we had a special lunch treat and privilege to dine with senior Staff in the Olympic Specialty Restaurant (closed for lunch normally) and have a favorite dish of mine, nasi gorum, an Indonesian dish. As usual the meal was to die for with the shrimp, chicken and lamb sticks (in peanut sauce) cooked to perfection. We were pleasantly surprised to be invited also to the Captains Table on this first formal night. The group met in the Champagne Bar for cocktails and subsequently went to the beautiful Metropolitan restaurant, having a great meal and conversation with Captain Karatzas. The Captain and I share a common interest and so we continued our discussion of Sport Cars (from the May 05 transatlantic). On Day 4 we arrived in Malaga, Spain and took a shore excursion to Marbella and Porto Banus which was great. It lasted 4 hours and gave us time in each city to walk around and have a drink or shop. The tour was very reasonable for door to door service and the tour guide was well spoken in English and made the tour very interesting. Again, there was a lot of uphill walking on cobblestones and the busses had steep stairs, but the guide walked slowly to accommodate everyone. Later we were invited to the bridge with 8 other guests to watch the Millie depart Malaga which is always an exciting adventure. On Day 5 we discovered (after 2 trips on the Millie) the Aqua Spa Cafe and had a great lunch of low fat tacos and a hot Indian Dish of chicken, veggies and rice. It was excellent and I didnt feel that I was over filled. I decided this was the place to eat when I started to feel I had overdone things the day before. For our special Thanksgiving Holiday dinner we invited the Captain and Hotel Director to dine with us at a special table in the Metropolitan Restaurant. We had a great holiday meal of turkey, stuffing, white and sweet potatoes, veggies, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. On Day 6 we ported at Tenerife pronounced Ten ir ef A and walked around and did some shopping. We were unable to find Llardo porcelain figurines (which we collect) or fine jewelry in any of the shops but instead we looked at cameras and electronics and had fun admiring the architecture and the overall scenery. Unfortunately, the shops close from 1 to 4 pm so we didnt get to purchase too many things (good for me but bad for Susan). As a business person, I have a hard time believing shops close their doors when a ship is in town during prime business hours, but I suppose thats their custom in Tenerife. We were invited to the bridge to watch the ship leave, this time alone. We were thrilled to watch the Master Captain maneuver the massive ship out of the Tenerife harbor. He actually went sideways for a short distance as we were parallel parked and then he backed out of the small harbor due to the closeness of other ships and location of the pier. I was fascinated watching him maneuver this huge ship in reverse. On Day 7 we were invited by Renato Chizzola, the Hotel Director, to a special meal that he hosted with all the ships senior officers. Renato purchased tapas in Tenerife with all kinds of cheeses, olives, meats and fish. It was a fabulous feast with wine and a special Brandy Cordial that Renato shared with us. The Cruise Director, Don Fluke was outstanding and was very visible on the ship. I ran into him frequently and he always engaged me in great conversation. I also met Simon Weir (permanent Millennium Cruise Director) while we were in Malaga and he was visiting the ship. His wife is a crew member and Simon happened to be on vacation in Malaga. He will be returning to the Millennium soon. I heard a lot about Simon and finally got the chance to meet him. We attended the Captains Club party and had a pleasant time. It works out very well on Celebrity with the bar attendants bringing the drinks to each table as opposed to the guests standing up attacking the waiters walking around with full trays of drinks. I have never been one that likes stampedes while on vacation especially waiting to get into the dining room or at some ships captains partys. The day ended with the Captain joining us in the theater for the show. Day 8 was a sea day and we lunched alone in the Metropolitan Dining Room. I invited Renato to join us in the Olympic for dinner. We had a fabulous meal as usual and Stan, the head Maitre D was his superb self. I had Steak Diane cooked to perfection at our tableside. I still consider the Olympic Restaurant to be the best dining experience I have ever had anywhere for any price. Our meal took 3 hours and we never once felt rushed. Days 9 through 12 were days at sea, time to relax and read books and magazines and watch movies. We had lunch each day with the Captain and ended the cruise with dinner at the Olympic with the Captain and Renato. We seem to hit it off with ship personnel and they do make a difference in your vacation. I had a few private behind the scene tours of the ship and its as beautiful as ever. I know some cruisers complained about sewer smells on decks but I can say we never smelled a thing. The US Health service gave the Millie a 98 out of a possible 100 points so I am very confident the smells were just random. No one that I know got sick or affected by any smell. I would cruise her again in a heartbeat, especially with the fabulous crew on board. I have never been around such consummate professionals, caring people. On the Millie as well as the rest of Celebrity its all about customer service. Unfortunately, there are jerks on every cruise and the staff has to deal with them. I get so irritated when I hear someone screaming at someone just to scream. Guests are not always right in my opinion, their demands can be outrageous and I commend Celebrity Ship personnel for dealing with some situations with utmost respect. I look forward to the November 06 Millie transatlantic which is a 17 day, 16 night cruise stopping in some great ports. Susan I were lucky enough to get our former humble abode back (cabin 6147) on this cruise. Let the Parties Begins, I cant wait!!! My photo Link: http://community.webshots.com/user/irwind101 Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
I took a repositioning cruise on the Millennium from Barcelona to Ft. Lauderdale in November 2005. Our departure was delayed two days because the ship was not ready to sail after coming out of drydock. We received conflicting stories about ... Read More
I took a repositioning cruise on the Millennium from Barcelona to Ft. Lauderdale in November 2005. Our departure was delayed two days because the ship was not ready to sail after coming out of drydock. We received conflicting stories about why - labor strike at the drydock shipyard in France, the shipyard went bankrupt. Whatever the reason, Celebrity gave us $100 per person shipboard credit to cover meals in Barcelona and a 20% refund on the cruise portion of the cost (not on port changes) and put us up in a hotel for two days. They also cut two stops out of our itinerary (Marseilles and Rome), which infuriated everyone because we all wanted to go to Rome. They kept the stops at Nice, Malaga, and Canary Islands. We had serious plumbing problems throughout the cruise. Several decks had horrible sewer smells and one night the toilets stopped working and we had to go to another floor to use the restrooms. We ran into bad weather and rough seas from a tropical storm that later turned into hurricane. The captain said we would arrive in FL 5 hours late because he had lost time due to slowing down for the storms but passengers believe it was because there was a problem with one of the engines. We appeared to be traveling at about half speed for the last day or so of the cruise and passengers reported seeing a wake from only one of the rear propellers. Four people at our table were in their 80s and two were in their 70s. This transatlantic cruise attracted people who could take 2-3 weeks of vacation, so a lot were retired. The food was fantastic - every meal was memorable - and the service in the dining room and cabins was perfect. The lecturers were terrific and the entertainment was first rate, including aerialists who awed the audience. It appeared that the carpeting in the public areas, and perhaps the furnishings too, were new and had been replaced during the time in drydock. The cabin carpet should be replaced. If it hadn't been for five days of deck 2 and other decks smelling like a sewer, it would have been a flawless cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
A little background. I'm in my late 30s and my husband is in his early 50s. This was our 5th cruise - 1st on Celebrity. We had planned this trip for about 18 months and it turned out to be everything we had expected and more. We ... Read More
A little background. I'm in my late 30s and my husband is in his early 50s. This was our 5th cruise - 1st on Celebrity. We had planned this trip for about 18 months and it turned out to be everything we had expected and more. We flew into Barcelona via Frankfurt from Vancouver to enjoy two nights pre-cruise at the Atrium Palace in Barcelona (Great hotel....beds a little hard, but a great location). Barcelona is a wonderful city and I highly recommend spending some extra time there if possible. The hop on/off bus is a great deal. Embarkation....a breeze. We filled out the XPress pass and the whole thing from start to finish was about 10 minutes before we were boarding. Our Cabin...WOW...how do you beat an FV? We had 7199 and just loved it. We didn't want to give it up. The cabin was great and the deck was to die for. Millennium....She was in pretty good shape. She is going into drydock in another week or so, but on the whole, she's beautiful. I really like the M class ships, they're such a great size and so elegant. Probably the nicest ship we've sailed on. Staff.... Excellent. Our cabin attendant Nemia was awesome. She's definitely the best we've had in five cruises. The waiters were good but not the best. Everyone we encountered was really friendly and helpful. Entertainment: Can't comment. We didn't attend one show. This was such a port intensive itinerary that we didn't do any late nights. Food: I'm a bit torn on this. I was expecting more. We only ate in the dining room about half the time...we were a little peeved to have not received our table for two that we asked for 18 months in advance. Do they really need Sweetbreads on the menu? I mean with only four or five selections...does anyone order Quail, Squab and Sweetbreads? I'm not that picky of an eater and there was one night when I wanted absolutely nothing on the menu, not a appetizer, soup, salad or entree. The Olympic was excellent. Well worth the $30 per person. Ports: Villefranche: We had a private tour with Sylvie who is amazing. In my opinion it was the best private tour we did, although Daniele in Rome came very close. We visited Nice, St. Paul de Venice, Eze, Monaco & Monte Carlo. Livorno/Florence/Pisa: Private tour with Driver in Rome. Another very good day. You saw the herds of cruise ship tours and just groaned. Private Tours are the only way to go. A word of advise on shopping: I'm kicking myself for not stocking up on scarves at the San Lorenzo Market. We were buying lovely silk scarves for around 4 or 5 Euro...some were even 3 for 10 Euro. Everywhere else the exact same ones were 15 - 20 Euro each. Rome: Private Tour with Daniele from Driver in Rome. We saw so much and had to do very little walking. Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Coliseum, St. Peters. Even the Pope! Naples: We elected to take the ferry ourselves to Capri. Very easy to do. It was about a 40 minute trip. Capri is lovely to just walk around and have a leisurely lunch. A beautiful island. Next time we'll do the Amalfi Coast. SEA DAY: Yeah!! Finally some rest. We hung out on our deck most of the time and read. A lot of people get burned out on this cruise, so we really tried to relax and not do much on sea days. Mykonos: Lovely island, better prices than Santorini for jewelry, etc. Very windy though. As soon as you leave the protection of the little winding streets we were getting blown to pieces. We ate at Nicks Taverna and it was great. The best greek salad we've ever had. Athens: A private tour this time with Spiros, only he wasn't our driver, it was Michael. A good day. We visited the Acropolis, Temple of Zeus, changing of the guard, 45 minutes in the Plaka and then out to Cape Sounion for the Temple of Poseidon. We really liked having a private tour, but with three adults in the back of the taxi, they were feeling a bit cramped. Santorini....WOW....what a lovely island. We checked out of the Donkeys and elected to take the cable car up. We looked around Fira a while and then took the noonish bus out to Oia. Do not miss Oia. This is such a lovely town and where all the pictures are taken of the white churches and the blue roofs. Just walk around for a couple of hours...it's beautiful. We then took the bus back to Fira and made our way back to the ship. Another Sea Day...Yeah..more rest. Dubrovnik. This was the first day on the cruise we woke up to rain..and it was pouring! We waited an hour or so before deciding just to do it and take the Tender in. After about 45 minutes of walking around the town the rain let up. Dubrovnik's old town is a lovely walled city. We wish we'd have walked the walls but when we first arrived they would have been very wet and windy and then later we were laden down with purchases. Go to Mea Culpa for pizza - it's excellent. Venice...what can I say about Venice...just thinking about it makes my heart skip. It is the most beautiful city I've ever been to. We just loved it. We arrived around noon and decided to skip the ship's transfer to St. Marks. We'd arranged Venice Cards before we left with a three day Vaporetto pass. So we found our way to Piazza Roma to pick up our passes and board the #1 Vaporetto for our trip down the Grand Canal...what a way to first see Venice. It was lovely. We walked and walked as far as our legs would carry us the first day and dis some planning as to where our Hotel was located for when we disembarked. Disembarkation: Again, a breeze. Very well organized. We left around 9:30 - 9:40 as we weren't going home we had two nights post cruise in Venice. We picked up our luggage with no problem and then got in the line to organize a water taxi. You can't just go out and hail one, you reserve and pay and then go out and board with your group when your number is called. They try and put you into groups so split the cost. We paid 50 Euro a couple. We had three couples all going to different hotels. If you're all going to the same hotel I think it was around 30 Euro per couple. Venice....post cruise....ah....We made our way to the Westin Europa Regina which I had booked on points. We were so lucky to be upgraded to a Junior Suite overlooking the Grand Canal. It was such a lovely hotel and our room was amazing. Back to exploring (shopping)! Again, we walked and walked....ate Pizza and Panini's standing at counters..don't sit down unless you want to pay triple. We will definitely be back to Venice. Our hotel had a shuttle to the airport for 50 Euro a couple which we took. It was just a water taxi, but cheaper than booking one yourself. Once at the airport don't get a porter unless you want to pay 5 Euro a bag (which can really add up). We paid 1 Euro for a luggage cart and walked the 7 minutes ourselves. Random Notes: If you like scarves...buy them off the street in Barcelona or at the market in Florence...way cheaper. Santorini had some beautiful one's too, but they are expensive, so if you need cheap gifts, florence is excellent. Florence market had some great deals.... lovely leather, silk ties for 5 Euro and millions of silk scarves. Italy...eat standing up. Sit down and the price goes sky high. Eat lots of Gelato...yum! Mykonos is cheaper than Santorini for shopping. Venetian glass...Real Venetian glass is cheaper on the ship than in Venice. I bought a necklace that was $82 us on the ship and 129 Euro in Venice. Also be careful of cheap chinese glass. We were warned numerous times about glass around the Rialto Bridge. There is a lovely little shop about two block west? of San Marks called FGB where she makes and designs her own jewelry, she had great prices...I bought six pairs of earrings. Stay and extra day or two in the embarkation and disembarkation ports...it makes a huge difference. Private Tours are the way to go...make friends on Cruise Critic and put groups together. People were exhausted after Rome, I don't think we walked more than a block. Do the Hop on/off bus in Barcelona, it gives you a great overview of the city into sites you'd never see otherwise. Go to the Med. You won't be sorry! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
Overall, a simply fabulous cruise. (The nits below should not detract from this.) HIGHLIGHTS: Main seating dining and service, overall service, Santorini (Oia), Dubrovnik (and Dubrovnik seafood), Venice, Capri, Olympic dining room ... Read More
Overall, a simply fabulous cruise. (The nits below should not detract from this.) HIGHLIGHTS: Main seating dining and service, overall service, Santorini (Oia), Dubrovnik (and Dubrovnik seafood), Venice, Capri, Olympic dining room LOWS: Tired statesroom, uneven breakfast and lunch service, uneven tour guides, entertainment, confusing disembarkation/airport transfer, rude Venetian salespeople, Sorrento generally, "first class" meals on excursions, pad-thai and pre-cooked dessert crepes at main seating dining, cold burgers at the grill EXCURSIONS TAKEN: Nice/Eze; Florence/Pisa; Imperial Rome; Capri/Sorrento/Pompeii; Delos; Athens Acropolis; Doge's Palace/Glassworks PORTS WHERE EXCURSIONS SKIPPED: Santorini, Dubrovnik TIPS: (1) On Santorini, an excursion is unnecessary. Oia was the highlight of the entire cruise and shouldn't be missed. Bus service from Fira to Oia is only 1 euro (v. 15 euro by taxi). Be prepared for 3d world packing of the bus, though. (2) In Greece generally, retsina and ouzo are awful (probably an acquired taste). (3) Dubrovnik was a surprising treat. The candied almonds sold in some stores are delicious (if pricey). The restaurant at the end of the Stradum right by the water is great. Walking the city wall is well-worth the small fee. (4) In Venice, gondola rides can be independently arranged for significantly less $$$ (140 euro for 4-6 people for the longest 1 hour trip). Skip Cafe Florian (85 euro for coffee and dessert for 4!!!) and try the cafe across the square, which plays better music anyway (classical instead of showtunes). (6) The Capri/Sorrento/Pompeii excursion was great because of Capri, which is very cute (although Santorini/Oia is far cuter). The tourbooks are right -- Sorrento is a waste of time. REVIEW: Overall, the cruise was great. DINING: Dinner in the main dining room was excellent. It only disappointed twice -- when we tried the Pad Thai (very non-authentic; more like bad chow mein) and the crepes (pre-cooked). Our wait staff -- Daugaus, Darius, Herson, and our wine steward Dona (all sp?) -- were excellent and very attentive. The members of our table consistently ordered more than one entree, and were always satisfied (except as discussed above). The wine list was decent and very reasonably-priced. We ordered two bottles of wine for our table almost every night, and never had to repeat choices. Breakfast in the main restaurant disappointed. The only advantage over eating on Deck 10 was that the omelets and croissants were slightly better and there were no lines. The staff was somewhat inattentive, however, and rather rigid. For example, when one of our friends asked for a plate of grapes, she was told that this could not be accommodated. She could, however, order an entire fruit plate and discard everything except for the grapes. The service in the buffet restaurant on Deck 10 was spotty. The waiters are supposed to offer to take your tray to a table -- but only did so for those who were very old or very infirm. STATESROOM: Our statesroom attendant, Jose, did an excellent job. He made sure to fold/arrange our clothing daily and even sprinkled rose petals on one of our friend's beds on her birthday. Our statesroom itself was adequate. The 170 square feet of space were ample, as was the closet space. The furnishings in our statesroom disappointed, though, and looked to be more than 5 years old. The small couch was dirty and threadbare, and one of our lamps was missing a lampshade (the result of a former inebriated occupant's mishap, we later learned). The paint on our toilet seat was peeling, and there were visible scratches along one of our statesroom walls. The blow dryer was very, very weak. EXCURSIONS: Although we liked all of the excursions that we took, we had mixed reviews regarding our tour guides. Our local tour guide in Rome was fantastic, as was our Delos tour guide. On the other hand, our guide on the airport transfer in Barcelona (yes, yes -- not really an excursion) did a great job of NOT selling us on Barcelona (e.g., "This is the ugly part of town." "Spaniards do not really siesta, except for the lazy people in the south.") Our guide in Athens constantly threatened to leave us if we were late (and, indeed, consistently departed a few minutes before the appointed time). Celebrity mis-advertises some of the excursion meals in its literature as being at "first-class restaurants." In Italy, we dined at three such restaurants in a row -- on our Florence, Rome, and Capri excursions. These meals were certainly not "fine dining." Celebrity tries a bit to hard to "pitch" certain of its affiliated stores. In Venice, the Murano glassworks demonstration person even conceded that he was giving us a "pitch." OTHER: The entertainment was adequate. The illusionist's illusions were good overall -- but he laughed too hard at his own jokes. We dropped in on many of the other shows (Fantasea, etc.) and found them to be solid, if slightly amateurish (better than your average college production, but only slightly so). The ship's bands were adequate, as well. Prodigy was very entertaining (especially the lead singer, who was quite the showman). The violinist for one of the bands consistently played off-key. She played during dinner, and thus we could not avoid her. Overall, the highest marks for food quality, main seating dining, and personal service. Decent marks for breakfast/lunch service, entertainment, and our statesroom. Read Less
Celebrity Millennium Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 3.5 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.5 3.6
Service 5.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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