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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We recently sailed on Millennium from Vancouver to Shanghai, with stops in Dutch Harbor, Yokohama, Kobe (overnight) and Miyazaki, Japan. This was our second transpacific on Millennium. We did the same cruise last year, although the ... Read More
We recently sailed on Millennium from Vancouver to Shanghai, with stops in Dutch Harbor, Yokohama, Kobe (overnight) and Miyazaki, Japan. This was our second transpacific on Millennium. We did the same cruise last year, although the itinerary was slightly different. Both cruises far exceeded our expectations. Remember though, the Pacific Ocean is very large, so if you don't like lots of sea days this isn't the cruise for you. Highlights included: 1. The excellent Celebrity Life presentations, including Captain Dave Lethin from The Dangerous Catch TV program. He was an outstanding speaker every day between Vancouver and Dutch Harbor. Chelsea, the marine biologist was captivating, and the series on Buddhism was very informative, and gave us some insight regarding that belief as we sailed towards Asia. The traveling doctor from the UK who spoke about Asia and Africa, with many wonderful pictures, was also worth listening to. Only one speaker disappointed, the art professor. Her lectures were unorganized and boring. 2. The Progressive Dinner with the Food & Beverage Manager. Only 3 couple participated, and it was great. We started out with appetizers and champagne in Cellar Masters, had our first course in Qsine, the best halibut and wine in The Olympic, and then back to The Bistro on Five for dessert, a chocolate bomb, the most decadent dessert I have ever attempted to eat. Dinner took almost 4 hours. Sign up if you see it offered. You won't be disappointed. 3. Blu Restaurant. We always book Aqua class because we like the intimacy and more friendly and personalized service in Blu for breakfast and dinner. By the end of the cruise we knew everyone who worked there. Artur, the restaurant host is an amazing guy, who always goes out of his way to provide service above and beyond. This was our 3rd cruise with Artur, and hopefully not our last. He is the best restaurant host afloat. It would be nice if lunch was served in Blu, especially on sea days. That would help with the crowding in the buffet. More on that later. Our cabin was roomy enough, and had some upgrades for Aqua class. The room attendant did an excellent job. There is ample storage for clothing, with a large closet and plenty of shelves and drawers. We were in 9042, starboard side forward, on deck 9. Good location. Handy to everything. My only complaint was the dish cart that rolled across our ceiling every morning. The Solarium was right above us. The entertainment was very good, especially the special acts. The singers and dancers in the troupe weren't as good as we have seen on other ships, the songs are sort of old and tired, and the dance routines and sets need an update. Steve Gayda, the cruise director, is one of the best in Celebrity's fleet. We booked all of our shore excursions through the cruise line. No disappointments there. Good tours and good guides. The overnight, so called, in Kobe could have been longer. We didn't arrive until 4 in the afternoon, and departed at 5PM the next day. Getting on the ship in Vancouver was a little slow, but I think the blame goes to the immigration authorities rather than the cruise line. Getting off the ship in Shanghai was not a problem. The buffet is very crowded. Not sure what can be done about that. Part of the problem was the weather, windy and chilly, so the folks that would usually eat lunch on the pool deck were in the buffet. The bottom line...Millennium is a good ship, with an outstanding crew. If the itinerary matched my desires, I would not hesitate to book another cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Negatives: Previous 9 times I have embarked a ship in Vancouver I arrive at 11 am and get on board quickly. 2 large ships in Port. Celebrity and Royal Caribbean were dispersing room keys before we entered security. The 2 groups were put ... Read More
Negatives: Previous 9 times I have embarked a ship in Vancouver I arrive at 11 am and get on board quickly. 2 large ships in Port. Celebrity and Royal Caribbean were dispersing room keys before we entered security. The 2 groups were put through security together and in the same waiting area. 7 terminals for passports were not being used; the person was guiding individuals to the terminals! The ship left late because passengers had not cleared by sailing time; unheard of. An embarrassment to Vancouver and the Port. Was the line or Port saving money by under staffing? Our 6 PM confirmed dining time was denied; no explanation given. I had not prepaid gratuities for select/anytime dining. Others we met never went to the dining room because of this error, I imagine they had their gratuities reduced. The dining room was completely overwhelmed. They sorted it out by the 3rd day by opening the dining room 30 minutes early. In the buffet, precook a few eggs (this was done at the eggs benedict station) so people could avoid the 4 minute fried egg. They added more omelette stations after passengers complaints. The buffet staff could not get large groups to stop reserving seats, moving chairs to form huge tables (leaving tables with no chairs) and could not get them to leave after eating. Guest speakers were good, except one; she could not get a sentence out, very slow and unclear. Dr Will was good but his travels were not related to the cruise itinerary. Steve was perfect. Musical guests and entertainers were varied and excellent. Excursions in Japan were well worth the cost. Free shuttles were arranged and a monorail was steps outside the port in Kobe. Disembarkation in Shanghai was very fast & organized. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
Millennium Shanghai to Vancouver – Our Suite Class Experience To put this review into perspective, we originally booked the 2104 sailing of this cruise [two years in advance] but Celebrity charted the ship and we re-booked for this ... Read More
Millennium Shanghai to Vancouver – Our Suite Class Experience To put this review into perspective, we originally booked the 2104 sailing of this cruise [two years in advance] but Celebrity charted the ship and we re-booked for this year. It was our 10th Celebrity cruise [13th overall] and would complete our “World Cruise”. All but our first cruise have been in higher-end suites and after our 40th wedding anniversary cruise in 2014 when we booked a Penthouse, we have been hooked. We are not rich but our cruise insurance is so expensive, we cannot afford to cruise as often as others so choose to do it in style when we do. After our cruise in 2013, we had started to feel jaded about cruising and think that our money could be better spent elsewhere. Just at the right time, Celebrity announced their new Suite Class Experience. Although we had experienced Michael’s Club and priority boarding on our 2014 cruise, this was our first cruise with the full Monty. Our pre-cruise experience for this cruise was far from perfect so we were hopeful that our experience on board would be better. Pre-cruise We took an airport taxi to the Heathrow Renaissance Hotel the day before our flight. The hotel has undergone continues upgrades in the eight years we have stay there pre-cruise. It is a real pleasure staying there and is highly recommended by us. Although we usually use the Hoppa bus to get to the terminal, this year we tried a taxi. Because of the amount of luggage we cruise with, a taxi was much easier and quicker but, also, considerably more expensive. The jury is out on what we will choose in future. My husband requires wheelchair assistance because of the distances you are required to walk at Heathrow but, this time, the Special Assistance department was far from its usual pleasant and efficient operation. By the time he arrived at the gate, the flight had almost completed boarding and both of us were quite stressed by the experience but that was the only issue we had. We chose not to upgrade our flights because it is hard to justify to costs these days for such a relatively short time, although we do pay for additional bags and to choose our seats in advance – one of the pairs of seats at the rear of the ‘plane. For the first time in years, our flight was not full and the two seats in the row in front of us was empty and we ended up with two seats each and both on the aisle. Both pairs of seats had really great leg-room and we were more comfortable than if we had upgraded top premium economy. Immigration was, contrary to reports and reviews I had read, quick and easy. There were toilet facilities available before Immigration and the experience was considerably less painful than arriving in Miami. Once we set off landed in Shanghai, the Celebrity experience immediately started to improve. We exited Customs to be greeted by our driver holding a sign with our names on it. He spoke little English but had no problem communicating with us and we were whisked off to the Hyatt in on the Bund where there was a letter from Celebrity awaiting us with the details needed for our transport to the port on Sunday. About a fortnight before leaving home, I had contacted to hotel to upgrade our room to a Bund Club Suite with river view. It was expensive but considerably less expensive than upgrading our flights to Club Class and for considerably longer time. The suite is spectacular with arguably the best views in Shanghai. Let’s say that our first lunch in the hotel buffet was an experience and one that sent us scurrying to Trip Advisor for the reviews of the hotel’s Chinese restaurant and decided us against risking it for dinner. Instead we asked the Bund Club’s [executive lounge] concierge to make us a reservation for the Lost Heaven on the Bund for the following evening planning on ordering room service for our first night in Shanghai. We stayed at the Bund Club for a pre-dinner drink but were enticed by the complimentary treats available with the evening cocktails and had no need of room service once we had finished. It is well worth upgrading to a room with Bund Club access if staying at this hotel for the breakfast as well as the evening cocktails. Embarkation Embarkation at Shanghai was "difficult". We were prepared for this and ready to go with the flow. We had Celebrity transport from Shanghai and this, on its own was well worthwhile as we arrived at the port to see a long line snaking out from a tent. People with luggage had clearly been waiting a very long time. It became clear that these were people what had private transfers to the ship and had been dropped off by their transport as they arrived. Although others on the coach had already started to complain, it was clearly better to say sitting on the vehicle than standing in the sun. After a relatively short wait, the coach was driven to the rear of the tent and our luggage removed and then we were drive to the front of the terminal building. We entered the building and walk through a huge hall. At the far end we found a huge mass of humanity that we quickly realised was a very, very long queue to check-in. Whilst I held our place in the queue., my husband went up to what looked like [and turned out to be] an information desk. There was a couple trying to resolve an issue at the desk. My husband recognised a Celebrity uniform [the Captain's Club hostess] and just showed her our luggage tag on our carry on. [It was far too noisy and busy for anything else and one reason for tagging your carry-on!] We were immediately called over to the desk and checked in by someone who clearly did not do this. Once we had checked-in, we were escorted through the crowd to a separate security line without a queue. Passed security, there was a long line [but nowhere near the huge crowd waiting to check-in] which moved quickly and it was probably only about 10 minutes before we were through Immigration and boarding the ship. This was a little difficult for my husband because the gangway was extremely long - presumably to absorb the crowds if the check-in and immigration process suddenly sped up. Once on the ship, although rooms were ready, an officer spoke to us and suggested that we may like to head to Michael's Club for refreshments to recover. Once in Michael's Club we were welcomed and our beverages of choice were waiting! All through the process, Celebrity personnel apologies to us for not being able to provide a better embarkation experience. As I said we understood it was not going to be easy - reading Cruise Critic had prepared us. As far as we were concerned Celebrity had clearly made every effort to make it as easy as possible for us. We were given a 12:00noon check-out and departure from our hotel. Coaches had been leaving from 9:00am. These people would not have boarded much earlier than us. After relaxing for a while, our butler collected us from Michael's Club and escorted us to our suite. We dropped off our bags and headed to Bistro on Five for lunch. It was now 2:30pm. Millennium and the Penthouse Suite Having stayed in the PH on Constellation, there were no surprises on Millennium. My husband really appreciates having a kettle and microwave and it is useful to have a full size fridge as well as a wine chiller. We had arranged our suite [including bar] set up in advance through the Michael’s Club concierge and everything was in place when we boarded. There were many threads about the condition of Millennium before we cruised, in particular the question of how well she had been maintained. Quite honestly, I do not think that there has been any skimping on maintenance. I saw one member of crew sanding the railings whilst we were docked in Petropavlovsk where it was really cold. They were painting the whole of the back of the ship in another port. However, the ship is now very dated and was clearly not built originally to the same high specification as Eclipse. Just because we were looking for maintenance issues [so that I could report back on Cruise Critic], we noticed that the original design and finish were just not as good. There were many annoying design features in the PH and the PH bathroom fittings are clearly very dated now. Even my husband, who really does not care much about these things, noticed how dated the whole ship looks. I do not intend to list all the things we noticed because, most of the time, they are unimportant and, at others, were just humorous. Nothing stopped us having yet another great cruise. We were looked after incredibly well by our butler and stateroom attendants who were clearly noticed what we used and liked and proactively responded. Entertainment, Activities and Dining The food is an important element of our cruise. We do not attend shows nor take part in most of the on board activities. Having given up eating in the Main Dining Room in 2009, we were really looking forward to having the opportunity to eat in Luminae. Overall, we enjoyed the experience but it required some adjustment, on our part, having eaten in the specialty restaurants for so long. Luminae does not have the “special” feel to it that the specialty restaurants do and this is primarily because of the lack of space. Although the restaurant was never totally full, it often felt crowded. Ideally, the tables would not be so close to the window wall or to each other. It is difficult to see how it can be otherwise when Luminae has been carved out of existing space on board but we, personally, prefer larger tables and sufficient room to allow the staff to serve correctly without the struggle they currently have. We were disappoint, initially, to learn that Luminae was only serving brunch and dinner on sea days and days when we arrived late in port, and breakfast and dinner on other days when the marketing had promised breakfast, brunch and dinner every day. However, as we lost 9 hours in 17 nights, brunch and dinner turned out to be perfect as we could “survive” on just two meals per day but just two brunch menus for half the cruise with just two more added, the brunch menus were very repetitive. We still feel that, on normal cruises, breakfast, lunch and dinner would be preferable. Where Celebrity have not compromised is the staff in Luminae. Everyone from the maître d’ and hostess to the wait staff and sommelier were clearly recruited from the best in the fleet and well trained. The chef was very visible and the quality of the food of the highest quality. It was a huge pleasure to have a changing menu in Luminae as opposed to the fixed menus in the specialty restaurants. Obviously, there were some menus we preferred more than others but alternatives were available on request. Some of the highlights, we must mention, were: the chicken liver custard, the duck liver pate amuse bouche, the duck consume, the vegetable curries, braised short rib, beef and veal cheeks, beef and tuna tartar, meat balls starter and, surprisingly, the pizzette starter! The pain de champagne was the best bread we have ever had on board - just a shame it was only available at dinner. It was early days for the new restaurant but it did not completely meet expectations. The marketing promises that “the Suite Class chef can provide a tailor made experience to suite guests and prepare a dish to their liking” yet, for example, we were told that granola can only be served with compote and parfait as they are prepared in advance. This was resolved by making the granola from Blu [in my opinion, actually a nicer granola] on its own but, in view of the marketing, it was surprising that the Blu experience could be more “tailor-made” than Luminae. We attended the Chef’s Table – our fifth – and this time, on Millennium, we were served by far the best food so far. We enjoyed both the menu and the quality of the food served. It was a totally enjoyable evening. Unfortunately, our other experiences in Olympic were not so enjoyable. Had Luminae not been available, we would have had a very different experience on Millennium. We had one dinner and on lunch in Olympic and both were disappointing. We know the menu and usual standard of food and service extremely well after eating in the equivalent restaurants for years. [In all our years of cruising with Celebrity, we have never before eaten in the specialty restaurants less than four times per cruise.] The food at both dinner and lunch fell a long way short of the usual standard and the service was not as good as in Luminae. We actually witnessed two members of the wait staff arguing in the middle of the restaurant during lunch. Michael’s Club We had experienced Michael’s Club [in its present incarnation] once before and so contacted the concierge, by email in advance, requesting our choice of beverages to be available. The bar staff, provided exceptional service. In fact, it was difficult to pop into the room to speak to the concierge or another guest without leaving with our favourite beverage in hand – not that we are complaining! Both servers quickly learned our routines and we able to recognise whether or not we required a refill without interrupting the flow of conversation. The only disappointment in Michael’s Club was the snacks provided. Although available at lunch time and in the evenings, they were the same as the mediocre canapés served in suite. Celebrity is capable of making good canapés. Those served at the Chef’s Table were wonderful. We do feel that better evening canapés and more suitable day-times snacks would be a great improvement. Ports We chose not to take excursions [ship or private] in most ports and, for this cruise, had only made a lunch reservation at a Kobe beef restaurant in Kobe. Our lunch at Wakkoqu in Shinkobe, like saki, is an experience that we are glad we had but would not necessarily choose to repeat. Disembarkation and Post-cruise For us, disembarkation went like a dream. There were only 10 guests who had booked post-cruise hotels through Celebrity [staying in two different hotels]. We had the latest disembarkation time and stayed in Michael’s Club until 10 minutes before our time when the concierge escorted us to our designated lounge. When our number was called, he returned to escort us off the ship – via a different gangway to the majority of the guests and as far as Immigration. This, for us, is another really valuable aspect of the new Celebrity Suite Class experience. The remaining part of disembarkation demonstrates the value of booking post-cruise arrangements through Celebrity as well as what a wonderful port Vancouver is. As the concierge said goodbye, a porter approached us! Everyone, both Celebrity and port staff, were wonderful although I am not so sure those waiting in the taxi queues were so impressed by us being taken to the front of the line. From leaving Michael’s Club until sitting in our room at the Four Seasons Hotel having had our luggage and tea making facilities delivered was less than two hours! Although my brother lives in North Vancouver, it had been over 20 years since I last spent any time in Vancouver itself. It is a stunningly beautiful port and city. The weather forecast [although not the weather itself] was not too promising so we purchased a two day ticket for the HOHO Vancouver Trolley. Using this, we got to see much of the city and Stanley Park as is an easy way to get around the main sights. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
Sun and Service Shine on Solstice Cruise: Celebrity Solstice – 11-Night “Hawaii Cruise” (April 15 – May 1, 2015 – Honolulu to Vancouver) Still near Spring Solstice Time (April), the Hawaiian Sun cooperated to reward sun ... Read More
Sun and Service Shine on Solstice Cruise: Celebrity Solstice – 11-Night “Hawaii Cruise” (April 15 – May 1, 2015 – Honolulu to Vancouver) Still near Spring Solstice Time (April), the Hawaiian Sun cooperated to reward sun seekers and sun worshipers to bake those bodies to deep brown doneness. Warmth and sun was what many passengers sought – a number continued from the previous itinerary from Sidney, AU to end the journey with the Honolulu to Vancouver segment – some groups came from Germany and Eastern Canada to explore Hawaiian Islands and experience Polynesian culture and natural beauty. For us (wife and myself), along with the enjoyment of sun and warmth, a cruise should also provide a special culinary experience, a step above the ordinary. So, I confirm again a previously written cruise review “Eclipsed by Culinary Delights” (Eclipse 2013) – the enjoyment of experiencing the Specialty Restaurants (SpR) on Solstice Class Ships: Blu (the main dining venue for Aqua Class clients) and our two favourites Tuscan Grille and Murano (two times). The Solstice, after which this Class of ships of Celebrity is named, is a wonderful vessel with all the amenities one would look for to experience a great cruise – generous space so as not to feel crowded, great crew to passenger ratio, and the renowned Celebrity emphasis on providing excellent service to achieve high levels of customer satisfaction. Along with various art work throughout the ship, one living piece of art stands out – the Ficus Benjamina Tree suspended high in the main elevator cluster (see photos). A unique Celebrity Life presentation on the Solstice were the Glass Blowing demonstrations – a live learning experience of art produced by the science of “Working with the Corning Museum of Glass … a traveling exhibition called the "Hot Glass ShowSM." … the first-ever glass show at sea”. Supported by comments from many fellow cruisers, I proclaim that Celebrity Solstice shines when it comes to doing everything possible and “going the extra knots” to create an outstanding cruise experience for their clients – I can’t even start to name all the individuals at all levels of staff and ship management that have “walked the talk” and demonstrated this in practice. Although we have sailed with other cruise lines (Royal Caribbean, Holland America, etc.), Celebrity continues to excel in the area of “Serving with Excellence and with a Smile” and remains one of our favourites. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
It has been several months that I have given Celebrity the opportunity to follow up and make good on the concerns and disappointments my sister and I experienced on our most recent cruise from Honolulu to Vancouver in April 2015 so I am ... Read More
It has been several months that I have given Celebrity the opportunity to follow up and make good on the concerns and disappointments my sister and I experienced on our most recent cruise from Honolulu to Vancouver in April 2015 so I am now going to post this review as I have not received the promised call back I was given in May. I am not one who likes to or complains often but felt it was important to ensure the management of the Celebrity Solstice understood and could deal with the problems my sister and experienced. We booked the cruise after my sister had a marvelous experience on a recent Celebrity cruise she was on in the Caribbean. She raved about the service, food and beverage and how courteous and professional the staff were on that cruise. Unfortunately, she could not say the same for the April 2015 cruise on the Solstice. We booked the CONCIERGE PACKAGE and UPGRADED OUR BEVERAGE PACKAGE TO PREMIUM so we could enjoy some of the best services on board without having years of experience with Celebrity cruises. When we checked in we also purchased a $99 package for exclusive dining in 3 of the speciality restaurants. We were supposed to be one of the 1st to receive our luggage but waited over 3 hours for our luggage to get to our room. There was no champagne waiting for us in our room but there was some warm scallops appetizer sitting on the table. Many excuses were made by our cabin steward but we did not blame him for the problem….just waited patiently in our room to get our bags so we could dress for dinner. Dinner in the Tuscany was just ok. That was the 1st day. On the 2nd day we hung around the pool. That was nice except the bar was super busy and staffed poorly. One of the bartenders was very rude and lazy and also charged my account for drinks even though my card clearly showed I was a PREMIUM BEVERAGE guest. It was after this experience that we went to customer service and expressed our concerns, receiving more excuses and the promise that our concerns would be shared with the appropriate channels. Well, we did hear from the Food and Beverage manager (sat down at our dinner 2 nights later and listened) after we experienced more bad service and food as well as additional charges on our account! We used our onboard credit to have spa access and even that was a disappointment because it wasn't always working properly. We were listened to but nothing changed and nothing provided to compensate. Upon returning home, I called Celebrity customer service to follow up, give a detailed account of our experience and say I would not be able to recommend them. The gentleman I spoke to said there had been other complaints about the Solstice and that he would get back to me before the end of the week. I never heard back from him or anyone else at Celebrity customer service :( We talked to several passengers on board who have cruised with Celebrity for 10 years or more and were also disappointed with this cruise….it was unusual they said. I'm glad to hear that but I feel Celebrity should have done something for us to regain our confidence in their service. I won't be booking with Celebrity in the future because they did not deliver the service we paid for nor made up for it in any way. Positives were: we met some great people, our cabin was very comfortable, the pool area was fun and clean and lots of towels, the buffet had lots of good food choices, gym was in good shape Negatives were: Overall concierge service was not received…luggage and champagne was late, appetizers in room were poor, bar service at the pool was inconsistent (tried to use bar alcohol instead of premium and charged account for premium), speciality restaurant food was disappointing and not worth the extra cost (food was too rich and service was pushy), SPA was not working properly at times, customer service was just lip service Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
The cruise from Australia, New Zealand, French Polynesia, Hawaiian Islands and Vancouver BC, was on our bucket list. We stayed two weeks in Sydney Australia prior to sailing. The whole trip was fantastic. The cruising was exceptional on ... Read More
The cruise from Australia, New Zealand, French Polynesia, Hawaiian Islands and Vancouver BC, was on our bucket list. We stayed two weeks in Sydney Australia prior to sailing. The whole trip was fantastic. The cruising was exceptional on this ship. The ship was fantastic and the employees went out of their way to make us feel like royalty. We never wanted to get off! There was so much to do. With that being said there were a couple of things I would like to see change. The solarium was always reserved. Unless we were in port or got up at the crack of dawn there was rarely a chance to enjoy it. The second issue was the smokers. We were in a non-smoking cabin with balcony. However next door to us were smokers. If they were on their balcony we could not open our sliding door because of the smoke and smell. Hopefully there is something that can be done about this. I would do this cruise again if given the chance. Read Less
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