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Sail Date: October 2012
We sailed on the Millenium on 10-22-2012 from Ensenada to Hawaii. I will start off with the bad part of the trip-Day one. In order to take this itinerary you must check in at the San Diego airport, be bused to the San Diego port, wait for ... Read More
We sailed on the Millenium on 10-22-2012 from Ensenada to Hawaii. I will start off with the bad part of the trip-Day one. In order to take this itinerary you must check in at the San Diego airport, be bused to the San Diego port, wait for hours at the San Diego port and take a bus to Ensenada(about a 3 hour adventure).We arrived early for check-in at the airport and found only one Celebrity employee at the kiosk handling the check-in. We were about 20th in line and by the time we got to the front of the line there were about 75-100 people in line. A second employee arrived to help but it was mass confusion. After getting to the port in San Diego we saw the ship leaving to go to Ensenada and were told that no buses would be leaving San Diego for at least 3 hours so that the ship could get to Ensenada ahead of the hordes of travellers. Of course when you travel to Mexico you must first pass though Mexican customs and it took over an hour to get through that mess. My spouse and I kind of shrugged off the bad day knowing that a magnificent cruise was in store for us, however, I cannot even count the number of people that said they would never sail on Celebrity again because of the chaos surrounding getting to the ship. Once we managed to get on board(about 7 pm) our luggage had already been delivered (one piece was severely damaged somewhere between San Diego and Ensenada). We had booked an Aqua class sunset veranda on the 11th floor at the back of the ship and it was amazing! The view throughout the cruise was spectacular although our room was directly above the rear lounge/smoking area. The amenities that come with the Aqua class package are well worth the few extra bucks you pay. Dinners and breakfast in the Blu restaurant were impressive and the Aqua spa offered a great relaxing respite while on board. My spouse and I are cruise veterans and the shows on this trip were without a doubt the best we have ever seen on a ship(except for one Hawaiian dancing show). The Millenium itself is in excellent shape after its recent makeover and the crew is friendly and professional. We felt that some of the windows could have used a little more cleaning than they got but all in all the ship was great. Once we got to the islands we did our own thing and did not book any excursions through the ship. In Hilo we hired a local van to take us around the various tourist spots and it cost about half what the cruise line was charging. In Kona and Maui we took local transportation to the beautiful beaches and shopping areas. My favorite beach in the whole world is Kanapali Beach in Maui and we spent two days renting a little beach cabana on the beach. The final day was in Honolulu and again we did our own thing shopping and sightseeing. On the final day we used the ship's shuttle service to the airport ($25 person) and would have been better off just taking a local taxi service. All in all I give this cruise a B+ and plan on sailing with Celebrity in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
It always amazes me how you can take a group of vacationers, put them all on the same ship, same itinerary, at the same dates and yet the experiences can be so different. I can only speak of our experience and how we chose to handle ... Read More
It always amazes me how you can take a group of vacationers, put them all on the same ship, same itinerary, at the same dates and yet the experiences can be so different. I can only speak of our experience and how we chose to handle certain inconveniences. This review will focus more on the items I know we were searching for information on before we sailed but found little on: Hump cabins, Ensenda Embarkation, Halloween on a ship, Fitness Center and All Inclusive Premium Drink Package. We were lucky to secure a Hump Cabin within Aqua Class meaning we had a slightly larger balcony in a room that sat directly below the Aqua Spa cafe / Solarium. It was a great room with no noise disturbances. Having sailed on both the Equinox and Solstice we were interested to see how comparable the retro-fit ships were to the actual Solstice builds. We are pleased to report that the cabins look virtually the same with the exception of the missing overhead storage typically above the bed however; there was no lack of storage space without it (with 6 suitcases packed I put the storage space to the test!). So let's talk about the Ensenada embarkation which is such a hot topic with this particular sailing. Having cruised often and as we are usually flying in from a winter wonderland, we typically fly in a day or two early to limit the stress of having to "catch a ship". Therefore we just caught a $9.00 cab from the car rental drop off rather then take the shuttle back to the airport to then have to take the Celebrity shuttle to the pier. Best $9.00 spent of the entire cruise! Staff at the pier were very friendly and accommodating considering they were under vast amounts of pressure due to the ship being parked right behind the check in counter and then seeing it sail away. Kinda funny when you think about it... For those that were shocked and panicked all I have to say is your cruise tickets clearly stated we were sailing from Ensenada Mexico not San Diego. When we checked in we were given bus ticket #6 and were told to come back before 3:00 pm to board. I appreciate that they told us to go out and enjoy San Diego pier as opposed to waiting in the terminal and I was even more impressed that they took care of our carry on luggage while we did this. We went for a lovely lunch on the pier and even managed to get some shopping in. Armed with my Starbucks Latte in hand we headed back to the terminal at about 2:45 where we spent about half an hour chatting with the people sitting next to us and by 3:30pm we were boarding our bus. Were we delayed a little due to a couple of people requiring scooters and oxygen tanks to be loaded. Ultimately we ended up being about bus #11 to pull out at around 4:00 pm. Border wait time was 60 minutes (not bad considering I have waited longer at airports to clear customs and at least here I was seated in a comfortable air-conditioned bus). Personally I enjoyed the bus ride along the coast, it was beautiful and we got to see the sunset. To expedite the process we were given declaration forms to fill out on the bus to be handed in once we arrive at Ensenada. Unfortunately we ended up on a bus that got lost in Ensenada and ended up going the wrong way down a one way street and then thought that he was rear-ended so stopped in the middle of another intersection to check things out (Luckily he wasn't hit). This all added about 30 extra minutes to our journey but with every U-Turn this driver performed with this motor-coach the bus cheered to show how impressed we all were with how well he maneuvered it. Eventually after 3 passes by the ship we made it to the dock overall time from San Diego to Ensenada was approx 3.5 hours. This was the first cruise we decided to experiment with the drink package so once we were a little settled in, we headed up to Blu for dinner and a drink. We definitely utilized our purchase with everything from: smoothies over breakfast, vitamin waters after a workout, fruity frozen drinks by the pool, lattes in the afternoon, pre-dinner drinks, cocktails and wine with dinner, after dinner drinks in Michael's lounge and a Martini at the Ice Bar. Now it sounds like we are lushes and that we should have been drunk for the entire cruise but that is not the case. Truly we used it to sample drinks that we normally would not. My husband is a beer snob so each night he sampled a different beer at Michael's and for myself, I do not like wine so I took this opportunity to utilize the the sommelier in Blu and tried to find wines I could enjoy...Success!!! To order the drink package again though I'm not so sure I would. We looked at the $1400.00 drink package expense as if it was a tour package or upgraded room. (only way I could justify it in my mind). Yes we drank our monies worth but in the end it was only empty calories that we didn't need and although the sampling was fun, we've done it once and don't feel the need to do it again. At least I know for certain that I do not like Cognac. To counter balance the consumption of food and drink we did utilize the gym frequently an participated in a spin class. Great experience and would do it again (I do think Celebrity should drop the $10.00 class fee though). But...the spin class led to a discussion with Daniel (Celebrity Fitness Instructor)about private training sessions and from that I enrolled in a 3 session personal training package complete with body composition analysis and a 17 page customized workout regiment to take home. The document covered everything from nutrition to an analysis specific to my body type and current fitness level. I was very impressed and have continued using the program Daniel built for me. Only downside was after the first session I had difficulty moving and was very sore the next day so I had to remind Daniel that I was on vacation and did need to be able to move about without pain. Once again... Money well spent. Halloween: We were sailing out of Maui the day of Halloween which was neat because Maui shuts down their main street in Lahaina for a children's parade right where we tender to the ship. Very fun and entertaining to see both children and parents dressed up following behind a fantastic marching band. Back on the ship we were one of the couples that brought costumes (remember the 6 suitcases)so we had fun dressing up that night. There were actually many passengers that dressed up as well as the crew and it was an electric atmosphere that night. They had a costume contest and we spent the night having people stop and ask if they could take photos of us. If you are sailing on Halloween we suggest that you join in the fun even if only with something simple. Kudo's to Rockin Ron the DJ for his incredible Rolling Stones Routine dressed up as Batman. He also showed an interesting and informative lecture on Marilyn Monroe which we thoroughly enjoyed. We weren't impressed with the Party Band "Kenosis" but stilled enjoyed dancing most nights. Those are my detailed comments on the items I thought are not usually reported on. Here are some remaining shorter comments and thoughts: Aqua Spa Cafe for breakfast was our favorite, Persian Gardens were terribly disappointing (no windows or private beds and was very dark and dingy), Bistro on Five was O.K., Olympic Restaurant was outstanding! We really enjoyed the progressive trivia (met some great people) and the shows were fantastic especially the backstage tour! We stayed away in general from the buffet (many grumpy pushy people up there) but the pizza was a favorite to grab and take away. Staff was ALWAYS friendly and outstanding especially the "washy, washy" guy by the elevators outside the buffet. The seas were generally smooth (relative to a pacific cruise)and the officer's pool volleyball game is always a pleasure! ***TIP*** We exercised the option to walk off the ship carrying our own luggage for disembarkation. We have done this several times and highly recommend it. We didn't have to send our suitcases away the night before or wait for them to be unloaded only to have to sift through the rows of black suitcases to find our own. We were off the ship with absolutely no crowds to fight through by 7:00 am, in our rental car and on our way to Pearl Harbor. Easy, simple and efficient. Clearing customs - There is no reason to bad mouth Celebrity regarding having to clear customs in San Diego (if arriving out of Country), then to have to do it in Mexico, and then one last time in Hilo... These are not "Customer Service" line-ups designed for your comfort but rather arrival and departures into and out of COUNTRIES!!! Celebrity has no control, nor should they, over being given "special treatment" for getting their 2400 passengers across. Additionally common sense should tell you that you have booked KNOWINGLY that you have to enter and exit out of Mexico along with 2400 fellow cruisers and the rest of travellers crossing that border at that same time. 2400 passengers do not clear customs all in under an hour whether or not you are entering or exiting a country by tender or bus, this is why this specific cruise cost less than the other ones sailing in and out of San Diego. Kudos to Celebrity for staggering the buses and allowing passengers to explore San Diego longer that day for their comfort. To complain about it is like being upset because you don't get the free blanket and pillow flying in coach as do the people paying double in first class. Overall this was a fantastic holiday especially for the price paid. Was everything perfect - NO but we chose to choose our attitude and as such it attracted the same attitude back. Honestly the most un-enjoyable part of the vacation was having to listen to others complain in the elevators, on the buses and in the line-ups. There was so much to do and enjoy on the ship that 5 days at sea truly wasn't enough. It's vacation, pull up your big panties and enjoy! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2012
I have cruised many times before on many cruise lines. This was our first Celebrity cruise and I had heard it was a step above Princess and HAL. I am 49 and was traveling with my 75 year old disabled mom. We had cruised to Hawaii before ... Read More
I have cruised many times before on many cruise lines. This was our first Celebrity cruise and I had heard it was a step above Princess and HAL. I am 49 and was traveling with my 75 year old disabled mom. We had cruised to Hawaii before on the Carnival Spirit from Vancouver several years ago. My mom had a stroke 10 years ago and is unable to walk unaided due to her balance issues. She depends on her electric scooter for mobility. She can walk short distances, with difficulty, with her walker. This was to be our last mother/daughter cruise as her physical and mental disabilities are getting too difficult to allow her to travel. I put a lot of time, money and homework into this vacation. You have to do your homework when you cruise or vacation with someone who is disabled. You always have to expect the unexpected. I had been in contact with Celebrity Special needs many times before this cruise. They were aware my mom would require a bus with a lift for her scooter for the transfer from the airport to the pier and from the pier to the ship. Celebrity Special needs advised me many times all was taken care of. I booked an accessible cabin with a balcony on deck 6. My mom just loves having a balcony on a cruise. She will sit out on the balcony for hours. She would sleep out on the balcony if I let her. Not on this cruise. More on that later. We arrived at the San Diego airport at 8:45am. It was a much too early a flight but we didn't know that then. We collected our luggage and found the celebrity reps. They quickly took our luggage and told us transfers to the pier would not begin until 11am. They told us they had no accessible transfers and we would have to pay $15pp for an independent accessible transfer to the pier. I couldn't understand this when celebrity told us that an accessible transfer would be available and complimentary. I had even given Celebrity my flight information. I still don't know what happened to the accessible transfer we were promised. The rep at the airport advised us if mom could get up the steps onto the bus they could put the scooter under the bus in the luggage compartment and they would be able to transfer us for free. We agreed. We went and had a bite to eat in the airport and began our 2 hour wait for the transfer. We were finally called to the transfer bus. The rep was insistent that mom get the front seat as she was disabled. As mom struggled to get up the steps into the bus, I watched as the men tried to get mom's scooter under the bus. It would not go right side up so they put it on it's side and slid it into the luggage compartment very roughly. I could only hope it wasn't hurt or damaged. Upon arrival to the pier the Celebrity Millennium was there and we wished so much we could board her there. Unfortunately, we were not allowed due to a law called the Jones act. Thankfully the scooter worked when taken out of the bus but with a few more scratches by it's rough handling. The pier was basically a warehouse. We checked in and then began the 4 hour wait for the bus to Ensenada. Celebrity did provide us with a light lunch of small sandwiches, potato salad and water or lemonade. Finally at 3pm the buses started to arrive and people began boarding the buses. Mom and I continued to wait until 4pm. We were then told that a lift bus would take several more hours wait. They said we could leave immediately if mom walked the few steps up into a regular bus and the scooter was put into the luggage compartment. We agreed. They made sure they boarded us onto an empty bus so mom could have the front seat. Several nice men helped mom up the bus steps. The scooter was put under the bus and we waited as people were loaded onto the bus. At 5pm we started on our journey to the border. At first our bus driver got lost and couldn't find I-5. He had to go around the block twice. Thankfully he found the freeway after that. We had to wait 2 hours at the border as all 50 buses were put in one line at the border. In the two hours the only excitement was a drug dog inspecting the luggage compartment of the bus and even entered the bus and walked up and down the aisle. Of course the dog found nothing. I thought this was useless as I don't think drugs are going into Mexico. This should be done on the other side in Mexico where drugs are coming into the US. We finally got through the border and began our two hour drive to Ensenada. We had a Mexican bus driver who did not speak or understand English. The bus driver drove very fast and we had to hang on for dear life so we were not dumped into the aisle of the bus at every turn. The views from the bus would have been beautiful if we would have been able to see them in the light, however it was already dark by that time. We were never so glad to see the lights of Ensenada. We finally arrived at the pier in Ensenada where the men broke my mom's scooter getting it out of the bus. We arrived into our cabin which I though had to be a joke. It was TINY. I have been on many, many cruises and I have never seen such a small accessible cabin. However I had no time to think of the small cabin as the broken scooter was of the utmost importance. It would not run and it's charge indicator was broken out of the dashboard of the scooter. I went down to guest relations and told them that my mom's scooter had been broken. The guest relations worker quickly told me that Celebrity did not break my mom's scooter but the bus company had. This confused me. Wasn't the bus hired by Celebrity? I asked if a maintenance man could please come look at the scooter. They said under no circumstance would they touch my mom's scooter. They explained they might break it worse and then would be responsible. I was beside myself. My mom's cruise would be ruined with out the use of her scooter. Not only the cruise but our 10 day post cruise vacation booked in Honolulu. Our room steward saw how upset were we about the scooter. Somehow, a maintenance man did come up and look at the scooter. His English was very poor and he refused to touch the scooter. I asked to use his screwdriver and as he watched I unscrewed the dashboard of my mom's scooter. I tried to put the indicator back in place but it was cracked. I then noticed the wire that went down to the battery compartment in the scooter was unplugged. It could not be plugged back in because the prongs were all bent. I used the screwdriver as best I could to re bend the prongs. I was then able to plug it in and low and behold it worked!!!! I was relieved beyond explanation. I was so proud of myself and my husband would have been too. The cord and plug must have been pulled out and damaged as the men pulled the scooter out of the luggage compartment. I thanked the maintenance man for lending me his screwdriver.. Later guest relations would call me and leave a message on my phone saying how glad they were that their maintenance man was able to repair my mom's scooter!!!!! What? I didn't care about this at all as all is well that ends well. For the first two days the lights in our cabin did not work. On the first night we really didn't care as we were so tired we just wanted sleep. They tried to fix them that evening but right after the electrician left they went out again. The next day the electrician had to return two more times. This finally fixed the problem and we didn't have a problem with the cabin lights again. We couldn't move in our cabin it was so crowded, with us the furniture, the beds and the scooter and walker. I removed the little table and chair that was in the cabin and put it on the balcony. This still didn't give us any room. There was no room beside the bed to get the walker or scooter near it so my mom would be able to transfer. We discovered the bed was too close to the mounted desk against the wall to allow mom access to the balcony. We were so disappointed. Here I had gone to all the extra expense of getting a balcony accessible cabin and the balcony was not accessible to my mom. What is the use of offering a handicapped balcony cabin when the balcony is not able accessible??? The balcony even had a lovely ramp but due to the smallness of the cabin the bed was on it. So, mom was not able to use the balcony at all on the entire cruise. The bathroom in the cabin was accessible. It had grab bars and a shower with a seat. Thankfully, our cabin was right next to the open area near the stairs. We stored our scooter out in that area. Mom used the walker in the cabin. This made it difficult to constantly get to her scooter but we survived. There was no place to charge the scooter out there so periodically we would have to have it in the cabin. Needless to say we were exhausted after the day we had. I went to the muster drill but mom was too sick and tired to go. We were so tired we didn't even go to dinner. We ordered a little room service and ate it in the dark as the lights weren't working. We slept late the next morning. Mom was still exhausted from the day before. So she stayed in the cabin for the most part. That is the reason I got a balcony cabin. I knew she would stay in the cabin quite a bit. Whenever, I think of this I still get upset. I explored the ship. I really liked the layout of the ship. It was not one of those mega ships. It was not too small and not too big. The ship was gorgeous. All shiny and clean. I really liked the clear elevators. I had brought my lap top and bought Internet with the ship. It was quite expensive. I think I spent $200. I was able to use my lap top from my room or anywhere on the ship. I was glad I had brought my lap top as the Internet lounge sometimes was very busy with a line of people waiting to use a computer. The next 5 days were sea days and after that nightmare of a embarkation we needed the relaxation. I went to our cruise critic meeting to meet all the people I had been chatting with before our cruise. Celebrity had champagne, orange juice and snacks for us. The cruise director came too. It was nice meeting and talking with some people but the group was so large it was overwhelming. During the sea days Celebrity offered many things to do. Hair seminars, space lectures, trivia and computer classes to name just a few.. The food was great on this ship and the dining room was very nice and the waiters were exceptional. We had 6pm fixed seating. One thing Celebrity did right was at dinner they seated mom at a table right near the entrance so she didn't have to do an obstacle course in order to get to her table.. Our table was also right next to a window. Mom would drive her scooter up to the table. The waiter would help mom transfer to her seat and then the waiter would drive the scooter away to park it out of the way. After dinner he would go get the scooter for mom and help her transfer back. I had asked Celebrity Special needs for large print menus but we never did get them. There are obviously some serious communication problems between Celebrity Special needs and their ships. The waiters learned our names and learned our likes and dislikes. The waiter wanted to make sure we enjoyed dinner. If we ever didn't like something we ordered he would encourage us to order something else. Our assistant waiter was also good but his English was not as good as our waiter and got confused or didn't understand some things . My mom just loves desserts and she would order two. She would eat both of them too. My mom is very skinny so doesn't need to worry about her weight. Our waiter encouraged us to do this. The lava cake, cheesecake and souffle's were the best. Lobster night was great. Nice big lobsters that were very tender. I ordered two. Then some nights nothing really looked good. Those nights we would just order two or more appetizers skip the entree and order dessert. The waiter allowed us the freedom to do anything we wanted. We were seated at a table of six and we loved our table mates. We would always get room service breakfast. We would order it the night before on a card and hang it on the door. It was always right on time. It was not always accurate. There was usually always something missing. One morning the coffee was missing. Another morning the toast. No butter on another morning etc. I would call them and they would bring whatever was forgotten. We couldn't imagine going to breakfast in the dining room when we could eat in our cabin in our pajamas. Twice we did go to the buffet to get waffles in the morning. They were so yummy. For the most part all the crew were very kind and helpful. I must say the only time we saw a bad attitude once or twice was at the guest relations counter. Our cabin steward was so nice and did her job so well. We would often sleep in and then just leave the cabin for 15 minutes before we would return again. I don't know how but we would come back to a clean, made up cabin. She must have been watching for us to leave. We loved going to the shows in the showroom. The productions shows were our favorites. There were 3 and they were so good. We also had a fiddler, magician, pianist, a singer and a comedian. Some shows were better than others but we never missed a show. One night we had a Polynesian show. We thought it would be a professional show but found out it was just a hula school that brought their students to the ship to do a show. One group that we really enjoyed were the acapella quartet. They were such nice young men and very personable. Also very talented. They had a large number and variety of songs. We always searched the daily paper to see where and when they were performing. We loved the reserved handicapped seating in the showroom. Usually it is at the very back of the theater in the nose bleed section, however, they had front row seats that were also handicapped accessible. My mom loved this as she can't see very well. The cruise also had the usual newlywed game, Liar, liar and dancing with the stars. I love these shows. The cruise director was always at these late night shows and he was so much fun. I really enjoyed our cruise director. What a busy guy, but so nice. Mom and I always had to go by his office to get into the showroom. There was a very heavy door we had to open to enter. If he was there, which he usually was, he would run ahead to open and hold the door for us. He was always out and about. Always very open to talk to anyone. After he had closed the show he would sprint up a deck so he could greet the guests as they came out of the main entrance of the showroom. I don't know when the man slept. He was up very late doing shows. Then was up at the crack of dawn. He said he lived on 6 hours sleep a night. Upon arrival into Hilo we had to go to customs on the ship before we were able to leave the ship. We all headed to a showroom. It started out with one customs agent trying to check out 400 people. This did not go over well. People were afraid of missing their excursions. Finally, 3 more agents came in and the line began to move. It was a crowded, confusing mess. Especially when mom is disabled and there is not any space for her to maneuver. But after an hour we got through it and were soon off the ship. We rented a car here and headed to Walmart where we really needed to get some additional medical supplies for mom. We also hit Hilo Hattie's for some shopping. We drove around and checked out some sea views. We had been to Hilo many times before. It is usually raining here but not today. Our weather on this whole trip was exceptional. Also the seas were never, ever rough. It was the calmest seas we had ever experienced. We couldn't believe people complaining about the movement and rocking of the ship. Mom and I would look at each other in amazement and say. What movement? Next stop was Kona. This was a tender port. We had quite a wait for a tender as they started with only one tender going back and forth. Finally they got more tenders going. Many disabled people were very, very upset as they were not allowed off the ship if they were not able to transfer onto the tender without their electric chair/scooters.. There were around 10 steps we would have to climb down and then had to step onto a swaying tender boat. The crew were very, very helpful. They would carry my mom's walker and helped her onto the tender. Some people who were confined to wheelchairs/scooters did not know of this requirement. Imagine going all the way to Hawaii and not be able to get off the ship. Thankfully, we were aware of this rule as we had cruised so many times before. In Kona we again rented a car and went to the place of refuge to snorkel. Mom didn't snorkel of course, she just waited on the beach. Some of the best snorkeling is here. We enjoyed the hour drive out here along the ocean with incredible views. We were in Lahaina, Maui for two days. We again rented a car. We just loved the freedom of driving and stopping where we wanted and when we wanted. I went snorkeling many places. Black rock had horrible snorkeling. However, we did have fun using the Sheraton's pool here. We stopped on a beach at the side of the road once and we were the only ones there. We were able to swim and snorkel and have the entire beach to ourselves. We loved it. Since we were here two days we required some place to park our rental car. We found a place close to the ship behind Burger King. It cost $25. This may be expensive but it was worth the ease of getting to the car. Lahaina was again a tender port. I had to wait over an hour for a tender back to the ship one afternoon. There were only two tenders going at the time. Not that I really cared as I was on vacation and had nothing to rush to. The line of people waiting was snaked all around town. Next stop was Honolulu. Our favorite. We arrived in the morning and stayed overnight until the next morning. We know Honolulu like the back of our hands since we have been here so many times before. Since we were post touring here for an additional 10 days we made this a ship day. It was wonderful to have the ship and pools to ourselves. We didn't have to fight over lounge chairs as hardly anyone was on board. We lounged by the pool, swam, sunned and ate at the near by buffet. Also there were the lovely views of Diamond head from the ship. The ship had wonderful soft Hawaiian music playing in the pool area. It was so peaceful and relaxing. We had the best day until around 2pm. This is when the crowds were making their way back to the ship. Loungers were getting full, and you could no longer hear the nice music over the shouting and laughter of all the people. Oh well, it was wonderful while it lasted. We got off the ship the next morning with no trouble at all. I had arranged a private transfer with a lift from Roberts to take us to our hotel. There were some bumps along the way but no cruise is perfect. I was ashamed by some of the behavior of the people on this cruise. Having fits, yelling and making scenes because they had to wait to get a tender or wait on a customs official, etc. Come on people, you're on vacation. I guess Mom and I are pretty easy to please. Feed us, entertain us, make our beds and at the same time take us to tropical ports of call and we are happy. I hope to cruise Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
We checked in at the port in San Diego for our bus trip to Ensenada.There was a delay.no big deal,But Celebrity provided lunch. Our bus trip to Ensenada had the normal delays at the boarder shockingly a few seemed overly irratated by ... Read More
We checked in at the port in San Diego for our bus trip to Ensenada.There was a delay.no big deal,But Celebrity provided lunch. Our bus trip to Ensenada had the normal delays at the boarder shockingly a few seemed overly irratated by this butI'm not going to let a couple of whinners ruin my day. When we boarded and were handed a glass of bubbly we knew we were in for a delightful trip and we were not wrong. We went to our stateroom and were greeted by Marco a man who loves his job and does it well.The cabin was a cozy 170 sq feet but with plenty of storage for mmy wifes things. The first night we ate at the buffet and were delighted with the choices.We both had the stir fry and it was great. The next night we went to the main dining and were served by Sasha and Anna who were at the top of their game. The beef and lamb were very good and we had escargot most nights.Great desserts and the rum raison ice cream was to die for. The 5 sea days were enjoyable.The seas seemed exceptionbly smooth for for the Pacific.Lots of activities to keep yourself busy but I managed to go to the gym for some cardio everyday . Enjoyed the bars .The Ice bar served great Martini's and Micheals had a very good section of beers.Enjoyed the live music. Went through imagration when we arrived in Hilo and it went smoothly. Sea were a little choppy in the tendering ports but Celebrity made sure we boarded safely.A couple of people not surprsinly thought that Celebrity has control of the seas(eyes rolling). Overall a fantastic trip thanks to a Great Crew and a Great Ship Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
This was our 3rd experience with Celebrity. Our first 2 were excellent. Our connection from the San Diego airport to Celebrity's SD terminal was quick. It went downhill from there. The terminal was chaotic and dirty. We finally ... Read More
This was our 3rd experience with Celebrity. Our first 2 were excellent. Our connection from the San Diego airport to Celebrity's SD terminal was quick. It went downhill from there. The terminal was chaotic and dirty. We finally boarded a bus to Ensenada at around 4PM. The bus proceeded to the border, where we were delayed about 1 hour by Mexican border security (not too bad, others were much worse). As night fell, the passengers enjoyed the darkness, as there was no light in the restroom. ( I leave this to your imagination). We reached the dock at 8 PM. Incredibly, we sat on the dock, waiting to board, until 9:05. After 5 hours, I thought it was reasonable to get an explanation from an officer. I was told that no officer was available, but someone from Guest Relations would contact me. We finally made it to our cabin at 9:20, just in time for the mandatory safety muster. We informed the officer at the muster station that there were still hundreds on guests on the dock, waiting to board. We also mentioned that we hadn't eaten since early that morning. We were told that the Captain had ordered the restaurant to stay open until 10:30 PM. After the safety meeting, we tried to get to a restaurant, only to find that only part of the buffet was open. We also had the pleasure of walking up from Deck 4 to Deck 10, because the elevators were being used for luggage. The next day, when I received no call from Guest Relations, a I decided to pay them a visit. Their response was that they had received similar complaints from many passengers (surprise!), that they were very sorry, and that 'corporate' had been notified. My reply was that this was disgraceful and unacceptable, which prompted another 'sorry'. (As a postscript to this, we followed up in writing in the ship's survey. Finally, after no callback we called corporate to repeat our complaint. This generated another 'sorry'). Here is my (hopefully) objective review of the balance of the cruise: Cabin - small, but modern and clean Housekeeping - excellent General ship condition - good to very good Entertainment - very good to excellent Dining - In general, not as good as prior Celebrity cruises. - Buffet - good - Metropolitan - quality good, presentation fair, deserts poor - Qzine - very good - Excursions - pricey but very good To summarize, under no circumstances should you consider embarking in Ensenada. Celebrity quality and service, on which the company prides itself, has slid significantly. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
I'll skip an in-depth discussion of the Embarkation Procedures that involved busing to Ensenada to board the ship, though quite honestly, in my opinion, it wasn't bad at all. However, I am sure many would disagree with that ... Read More
I'll skip an in-depth discussion of the Embarkation Procedures that involved busing to Ensenada to board the ship, though quite honestly, in my opinion, it wasn't bad at all. However, I am sure many would disagree with that assessment, and I know many issues have been directed to Celebrity Management. Once we boarded the ship, almost immediately the "Celebrity Experience" (think relaxation, service, food, drink, smiles) took hold, and continued throughout the 11 nights. Staff were pleasant, helpful, accommodating, kind, professional and unfailingly full of smiles and genuine warmth. I typically get up around 4 am to wander the ship (even with the many time changes) and spoke to every level of crew member I encountered...and every exchange was "excellent" (typical Celebrity response) !! The ship was in very good/excellent overall condition, and staff are seen at all hours cleaning, polishing, washing, etc to make sure it stays that way. Cabins (C1 Aft) were comfortable and the bathroom, carpets, fixtures etc all in good condition; bedding was good, storage is adequate (much prefer the M Class bedside tables to those on the S Class). We are aft/stern lovers, and the size of those balconies is wonderfully large, with 2 lounge chairs, 2 regular chairs and a small table. Though pads were not initially provided for the lounge chairs, they were quickly obtained when I asked my Stateroom Attendant. We were on deck 9, and were a bit worried of noise from the deck above, but for the most part, it was a total non-issue...yes, you could, at times, hear the scraping of chairs, but not to the point of "disturbing". We could also sometimes hear talking/music from the deck above, but only if we had the balcony door open. Friends on decks 7 and 8 had absolutely no noise issues. One item of note, that I think I recall being mentioned on CC...at night on several nights, we could hear a thumping sound...almost like the sound of a loud bass from a car radio that you hear while sitting in traffic next to someone with the radio turned excessively loud...At first I thought it was just that...music from somewhere...but it was 3am. Other nights we never heard it...so I never was able to determine what it was/where it was coming from ?? There was a group of 6 of us traveling together, and we were assigned late seating in the MDR (chose this because of the number of sea days, and because we typically indulge in the offerings of the Sushi Bar at 5;30-6pm...so a later dinner works well for us. Our Head waiter (Ali from Turkey) and Assistant (Ernest from the Philippines) were super fantastic, and in fact probably rate as the 2 best I have had on any cruise. Ali in particular was one of the kindest, most sincere, and friendly individuals I have met in my life...and I look forward to staying in touch with him. Trying to recall, I think during the entire cruise, our table (6 of us) returned/were not satisfied with a total of 3 dishes....that's impressive, since we ate in the MDR for 10 of the 11 nights....one night was on-shore at Old Lahaina Luau. Food quality, quantity, portion size, temperatures, served as ordered, etc...were routinely excellent. We had planned to eat at the Specialty Restaurants a couple of times during this cruise, but were so satisfied with the MDR, that we never did. Cafe al Bacio was my morning ritual (several times each morning), and I am happy to report that service, quality and consistency of coffee drinks was excellent. I am a coffee addict, and although I know Celebrity has improved the quality of their coffee in the machines in the OceanView Cafe...it still is not the least bit appealing to my taste buds....and yes, since Cafe al Bacio didn't open til 6:30am (better than 7am as on previous cruises) I had to partake of the machine coffee each early morning...not good !! T-Pool was wonderful. Gym was in good shape, with all but 1 or 2 machines in working order. Just a note, although the Gym opening hour is listed as 6am, the doors are never locked, and I was often done my workout by 6am. We are not big show folks, so I can't give a detailed account of the quality/noise levels/crowds etc. We did attend a Comedian...very good, and a Pianist...also, very good. Theater seats and condition overall appeared excellent. On a related note, CC recently had long threads discussing music noise levels on Celebrity ships lately...I never noticed loud music in any venue during this entire cruise. Tendering went well, with no overly long waits on-board or on shore (except the first morning in Kailua-Kona and the evening after the Luau's were over at Lahaina, and buses of folks were returning at the same time). Martini Bar was popular...Thanks to Wid from Indonesia !! Casino seemed popular...I make it a point to never lose in excess of $10...that took all of 5 minutes, and I was done in the casino for the next 10 nights !! Photographers did not seem as intrusive on this cruise as in the past...in fact, we found it a bit strange that the Photo Shop was closed upon our initial arrival in Honolulu (it was an overnite), and we saved money, as we were not able to purchase pics on our last days !! Never fear, between the 6 of us, we probably took a few thousand pictures combined ! Several activities were offered that were fun/educational and well attended. Specifically, we very much enjoyed the Hula Lessons, and lei making. Very popular and great fun !! One area of the ship that I think is wasted space is the aft/stern area of deck 12...above the new Aqua Class Cabins. There are lounge chairs up there...but nothing else. Seems kind of unappealing in my eyes...Appears like it would have been a perfect spot to install a couple of Hot Tubs/Endless Pools, and some tables with umbrellas or something. Rarely saw anyone up there at any time, except sail-aways. We did 2 ship sponsored excursions...snorkeling in Lahaina on the first morning (excellent); and on debarkation day...Pearl Harbor/City Tour with Airport drop-off (excellent). Overall, this was a Great cruise, with Great service from Great Staff, on a Great itinerary, spent with Great friends ! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
- Background Information We were a group of 4 adults, 3 had cruised before, one was a new cruiser. The cruise was booked partly as a celebration -- my niece graduated from university with a Masters in Geology, and my brother and his wife ... Read More
- Background Information We were a group of 4 adults, 3 had cruised before, one was a new cruiser. The cruise was booked partly as a celebration -- my niece graduated from university with a Masters in Geology, and my brother and his wife are both retiring next year. I just went along for the ride, having wanted to visit Hawaii for the past 40 years! As a disabled traveller, I'd had considerable contact with both the Shore Excursions department and the Special Needs department, and both seemed efficient and reassuring -- I felt I'd covered all possible issues, and made sure that the holiday would go smoothly. - Hotel Info (if any) We flew into LA, and expected a flight to San Diego, though as it turned out that flight was cancelled, so we were transferred by bus. No sign of any Celebrity representatives at San Diego airport, so in spite of having vouchers for transfers, we had to find our own way to the Sheraton hotel -- we used the hotel shuttle. This was the first sign that things might not go as smoothly as it should -- the room booked for me and my niece was not wheelchair accessible, despite assurances I'd received from Celebrity's Special Needs department that everything had been arranged. We were able to transfer to an accessible room, so we put it down to 'one of those things', and prepared to enjoy ourselves as the holiday developed. - Travel To Port of Embarkation Transfers from San Diego to Ensenada were a nightmare. We were transferred from the hotel at mid-day, and waited in what can only be described as a warehouse, with little in the way of facilities. Catering was joke, as were restroom facilities. In spite of contact with Celebrity, no-one at the pier seemed aware that I needed a bus with a wheelchair lift. Eventually we boarded a coach, and had to sit for over an hour while other buses were filled, and they started to put people on ours. Then came the long, slow journey to Ensenada -- the whole transfer took over nine hours from the time we were collected from the hotel. Surely it's not beyond Celebrity's capability to allow those staying in hotels to remain there until there's a realistic chance of them being able to leave the port? We eventually arrived at 9.20pm, just in time for the muster -- no refreshments and no chance to use the restrooms. - Ship Info We'd seen the ship in San Diego, and thought that, in spite of the refit, she was looking a bit 'scruffy'. However, on boarding our first impressions were good -- everything was clean, bright and polished. I wasn't keen on the glass lifts, but that's a personal thing, and I soon found enclosed lifts I felt more comfortable with. - Stateroom This is where things started to fall apart. We'd booked an accessible balcony cabin, but it was anything but accessible. There was no room to get the wheelchair next to the bed for transfers, and even after the stateroom attendant moved the furniture, I couldn't get onto the balcony with the wheelchair. There was barely enough turning space for the wheelchair, and no seating for my niece, apart from the desk chair. It was difficult all through the cruise to move around the stateroom. My niece kept turning the main light on during the night, since her bed was right next to the wall where the switch was located, and she knocked it when she turned over or moved at night. The bathroom was huge, and easy to use. The balcony is overlooked from the lifts, since for some reason Celebrity have put a transparent panel at the end of the balcony, unlike on other decks where there is a solid panel. - Dining Meals in all venues were fantastic -- I think the only places I didn't eat were Blu and Cafe al Bacio, although I had several coffees at the Cafe -- great place to wait for dinner, and listen to the piano player. The Metropolitan was great, and our waiters were just attentive enough without being annoying. The sommelier was fantastic, we never had to ask for a refill. We also ate in the Olympic and at Qsine, where we found the staff very friendly and informative, and a great laugh! Most lunchtimes found us in Aqua Spa Cafe -- fantastic food -- and occasionally at the Pool Grill, where I had the best cheeseburgers and fries I've ever tasted! Oceanview Cafe was a bit difficult to negotiate, as the servers didn't seem to see me sitting low down, and it was difficult to attract their attention. I would just like to give extra points to the ice-cream station, which not only served great ice-cream, they seemed to be more on the ball than the rest of the cafe -- maybe because they weren't so busy. - Activities We didn't take part in a lot of organised activities, although I did go to talks on Astronomy given by Michelle Thaller -- great lecturer, made difficult concepts easy to get a grip on, even if I didn't understand them all as well as she did! We did the quizzes in Rendezvous, and didn't disgrace ourselves, at least! My niece was involved in some volleyball sessions, which she enjoyed greatly. Mostly on sea days we sat by one or other of the pools, taking the occasional dip or soak in the Jacuzzi -- although the jigsaw in the Library saw a lot of activity when it was too hot to sit out. We all found other passengers very friendly and helpful, and had some great conversations with people we met at various venues. - Service On the whole, service was great -- there was one major exception, a Guest Services representative who dismissed my concerns about the stateroom being unsuitable, and kept telling me to phone the travel agent! Completely uninterested and offhand. In contrast, when I broke the footrest on my wheelchair, another Guest Services representative went out of her way to make sure I got a temporary repair -- so many thanks to her, and to Greg the maintenance man who carried out the repair. - Entertainment The entertainment was good, though we missed some of the late night shows -- it would have been nice if they could have been on a little earlier. I particularly enjoyed the 'casual' entertainment -- the piano player, the string quartet, and the a cappella singers. - Port & Shore Excursions I can't comment on these -- in spite of informing Celebrity at several points about my capabilities and needs, they sold me excursions at tendered ports, which they knew I would not be able to take. A cruise to Hawaii became 'a cruise to near Hawaii'. I was never so disappointed in anything in my life -- I'd spent almost £3000 on a cruise that was not, and never could have been, what I'd planned. All Celebrity had to do was to tell me there was no roll-on capability, and that 8 steps would be involved in tendering, and I wouldn't have booked the cruise. Right up until the morning in Kailua-Kona, I believed that I would be able to tender, and that was confirmed by the Shore Excursions rep, who gave us instructions about where to go for transfer to the tender. It was only after waiting for an hour, and asking several times what was going on, that we discovered that I wouldn't be able to tender -- and by that time the tour had left from a different gangway, so my family couldn't go on it either. They enjoyed the rest of their excursions, while I spent time on the pool deck or exploring the ship. - Disembarkation Disembarkation went fairly smoothly, though again, the staff didn't seem to be aware that I need a bus with a wheelchair lift for transfer to the airport. We flew from Honolulu to Los Angeles, and again in spite of vouchers, there was no transport to our overnight hotel arranged, and no sign of Celebrity anywhere. - Summary This cruise was very disappointing for me, since I was unable to visit the place I had booked the holiday to see. The cruise itself was good, with the exception of the unsuitable cabin. For my family, their experience was good, although they didn't feel Celebrity's standards matched those of the MSC Splendida, which they'd travelled on earlier this year. None of us have any wish to travel with Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
This was ninth cruise,5th with Celebrity,2nd Embarkation from Ensenada. We arrived at the San Diego Cruise Terminal at 1015 and were on our own taking our luggage into the terminal until finally Porters showed up. We checked in and ... Read More
This was ninth cruise,5th with Celebrity,2nd Embarkation from Ensenada. We arrived at the San Diego Cruise Terminal at 1015 and were on our own taking our luggage into the terminal until finally Porters showed up. We checked in and were given Group 2 which they said would leave 2-3 hours after the ship departed for Ensenada which was suppose to be 1000 . For what ever reason the ship did not leave until 1215 and we were told to be they would start boarding buses 230-300p.To their credit they did serve sandwiches,patato salads and light beverages at the terminal. We left the terminal for part of the wait to have some drinks at a nearby bar.They had a place to check your carryons if you left the terminal. We boarded our bus around 3pm for our journey to Ensenada.The trip was normal until we stopped at the Mexican Boarder.I expected a delay but what I did not expect was the bus driver openning the door to allow a young man to board playing a guitar and singing and of course collecting tips.Why would they open doors for anyone but authorities? After an hour delay we proceeded to the ship arriving around 6:30 and things went smoothly from there. We were welcomed with sparkling wine then went to our Cabin 6048 where we met our Attendent Andi.Cabin was 170 sq feet but had an oversized balcony. Andi was excellent bringing us extra towells,pillows,ice bucket always had ice and wine gasses were always clean. Dinner in the MDR was open seating the first night and we had a very good meal,though I heard some late arrivers had their meal disrupted by the lifeboat drill. The next night we met our regular Wait staff Alesandre and Maryanna who were excellent.The meals and desserts were very good to excellent. Had dinner one night in Qsine and really enjoyed.Was disappointed with Bistro on Five.Lots of choices at the buffet and never had a problem finding something good to eat. Really enjoyed the Martini Bar and the show by Bartenders Wid and Alin.I also overall enjoyed the music in the venues throughout the ship. Used the Gym and it was clean and equipment in good working order and the trainers were there to help if you needed it.Enjoyed the Solarium Pool also. The Islands,Hawaii(Big Island) Maui,and Oahu were all great. Fellow passengers were the BEST of any cruise I have been on. Disembarkation went better than average. Overall a Great Cruise despite the Embarkation process Read Less
Celebrity Millennium Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.5 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 3.5 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.5 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.5 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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