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This will be a short review, because everything was wonderful! The ship was lovely with nice public rooms, a great theater (3 fabulous shows) and restaurant and a large casino. The best feature was a spa pool with hot salt-water whirlpool ... Read More
This will be a short review, because everything was wonderful! The ship was lovely with nice public rooms, a great theater (3 fabulous shows) and restaurant and a large casino. The best feature was a spa pool with hot salt-water whirlpool tubs and a large warm pool with pipes to lie on that had water jets. After 4 days touring everyone was lying like beached whales in the warm, soothing water, including me. At this spa pool they served a light, delicious lunch, breakfast and snack that was always available. We had breakfast at the buffet which was very good, especially the omelet station. Dinner was the late seating in the dining room, I thought the food was good, not great but the selections were quite good. Some nights were exceptional, like the Chateaubriand and some ordinary. I didn't think any of the desserts were sweet enough and that goes for the ice cream bar too, but they were good, I just like my sweets, sweet! The most memorable dining experience was in the specialty restaurant where the service and food were excellent and well worth $25 each. As two single ladies we were treated as princesses, even being called "my ladies" by the headwaiter. If they had laid rose petals at out feet I wouldn't have been surprised, it was such great fun. They even escort you to the restroom, but I escaped (that was over the top to me) and they were quite upset with me for that! This is a treat that should be experienced. The food was wonderful with so many choices that we each chose one appetizer, salad, main course and dessert and then shared them. There is also a cheese course, with each one explained by these adorable, handsome and attentive men....had I been a little younger...oh well! The ports were great and we chose not to take the ships tours but contacted our own drivers and guides. We did this alone and also with other people we met online on Cruise Critic. We hired a private driver in Florence, a van in Rome and Naples (where he took us to the amazing and fabulous Almalfi coast) and for Santorini, Athens, Dubrovnick and Venice we went alone. My travel companion was very knowledgeable about these places and having been to a few myself we skipped the tourist things and went shopping instead. My only complaint is the 50-cent a minute service charge for the Internet and the fact that it takes so long too hook up to AOL. We tried to use Internet cafes ashore when possible. This was a wonderful cruise, it was quite hot which was debilitating but that was no one's fault. Each port was wonderful in it's own way and since Venice is my favorite city I was happy to have it last so it stayed most vivid. Of course Santorini (we took the cable car) was amazing too and all I kept saying was.. "I could live here!" at all the places we went. I am very pleased with Celebrity, they did all they could to make this work and go smoothly. Transfer buses in places, shuttle boats in Venice and when our charter flight landed in NYC they even had buses to take us to other terminals, very thoughtful. Our room safe didn't open and they sent someone right away. Each service was well done and made our trip enjoyable and memorable. I'll be back! Car215@aol.com July 2003 Read Less
Where do I start?! Don't worry, this is not one of those angry reviews where people complain about everything :) Bill & I have previously been on one cruise, that being the Carnival Destiny for our honeymoon 5 years ago. ... Read More
Where do I start?! Don't worry, this is not one of those angry reviews where people complain about everything :) Bill & I have previously been on one cruise, that being the Carnival Destiny for our honeymoon 5 years ago. Embarkation It went surprisingly smooth. We got to the docks and were immediately bowled over by the wall of humidity!! We had pre-registered online, which is a very good idea. It speeds up the process tremendously. As long as you pay attention and follow orders, there is no chaos. We were on the cruise ship within about 1/2 hour of our arrival. I think everyone had the same idea to go early. We were on the ship by 11:30am The Millenium She is a beautiful ship. Sure there is the infamous tiles missing in the one pool..whooptydoo! She was spotless, beautiful, classy and well laid out.(Speaking of laid out, don't think for a second you can just waltz through the casino easily. It's like a maze in there and takes you forever to get through it..very ingeniously designed :) The artwork is odd to say the least. Some stuff was great, other was bizarre. Each of the lounges and areas of the ship were like night and day to one another. There was no real repetition. The Cosmos nightclub was our favourite place to go. It was located on Deck 11, and had a panorama view of the ocean. It was very peaceful during the day with only bingo, and a few dance classes, so you could always find some quiet time. Also during the day, the Martini Bar and the Platinum Club were empty. At night they are jammed packed with people and there is a ton of smoke in the air. The Rendez-vous Lounge is where everything happened. The Pools They were quite nice. We opted to spend some time on the ship on a couple port days, to take advantage of the next to empty ship. The Thalassotherapy pool is wonderful. Warm and bubbly with lots of jets along the sides of the pool to soothe your aches. There are these loungers in the water made of steel bars that were very uncomfy, but people hoarded them so I guess some people thought they were comfy enough! The hot tubs..be prepared to have your skin scorched off when you enter them! Too hot to stay in longer than a couple minutes. Even though we had a full ship, you could always find a lounge chair. You might not be right smack dab next to the pool, but with the sun pelting on you, a little shaded lounger away from the pool is perfect :) The Food We never went to the Olympic Dining Room but friends of ours did. They said it was an experience not to miss. Although by the time they paid for the cover charge ($25/couple) and the wine, they came out $100+ lighter! The Metropolitan Dining Room was amazing. Beautiful decor and wonderful staff. Our waitress was Kinga from Poland. She was a hoot. I did observe the other waiters around our area, and everyone seemed very friendly and helpful. The food was incredible. I am sure for the connoisseurs, they could find something wrong with it, but for most people, the food was great. Rack of Lamb, Coq au vin, Duck, Lobster, Veal Codon Bleu etc. There were a couple nights that the food looked kind of scary, (I'm sure it was good) so I didn't wanna try it. I did eat Frog Legs!! They were tasty! The Ocean Cafe & Grill: The breakfast buffets were great. Anything and everything you could want from breakfast was there. The lunch buffets were more iffy. If you like vegetable pasta medleys where only half the ingredients are identifiable, then you'll be just fine :) There was always a 'today's special' at the back of the Ocean Cafe, where we found most of the good food. And as always, there was Pizza, pasta, hamburgers and hotdogs to be had if you didn't like the buffet. There was milk, water, OJ, apple juice & grapefruit juice for breakfast, and milk, water, lemonade & ice tea available for lunch. The Evening Shows These were quite well done. I had heard that they were nothing special, but I was pleasantly surprised. The only boo hiss one, was a magician and his assistant. He did boring tricks, and his assistant reminded us of Cathy Najimy from Sister Act. Spitten Image. She over exaggerated all her reaction and frankly drove everyone nuts! There was a wonderful juggler/comedian named Thien Fu. An impressionist comic whose name escapes me now. An amazing violinist from Russia. And of course the Millennium singers and dancers who did a wonderful job. The Ports We had a few downpours of rain and lightening storms, probably effects of all the activity in the area, but when in port, blue skies and beautiful weather. I'll touch briefly on each one. St Maarten Woke up with a migraine. Tried to sleep it off. Eventually went to Everyt'ing Cool and sucked back Big Black Bananas. You're right, they're tasty! The water was warm but all churned up so you couldn't see through the water. The water taxi was $5 and took you right downtown. The peddlers are almost unbearable there. If you are a person who can't say NO, avoid downtown :) Got sunburned. St Lucia The most beautiful island I have ever seen. Sunburn was hurting something fierce, so we opted to stay on board and spend the day at the pools. Bill got off the ship to pick up some souvenirs. For this island, there isn't much to do near the ship, so you need to plan on taking an excursion or a taxi somewhere else. Barbados Flat flat flat. We went on the Harbour Master Cruise up the coast. If you go on this cruise, inquire how many people are going first. If it's less than 50, don't sign up for it. It's a huge boat, and lacks in fun and activity with a small crowd. We beached at a nice quiet beach where some ppl snorkeled and other people played in the water. Got more sunburned. St Kitts Pretty island. We took the Catamaran Fan-Ta-Sea. It was a hoot. Sign up for it asap as it fills up fast. We were packed, but didn't feel like sardines. We headed up the coast..dropped anchor to snorkel for an hour, and then headed on the Pinney Beach on Nevis (sister island to St Kitts) The sand was 1000 degrees so you have to run fast! The water was full of conch shells and they served a BBQ on the beach for you to enjoy. Then it was party party party with an open bar, Reggae music, and conga lines all the way back to the ship! FUll day, so if you can, get to the back of the catamaran so you have some shade! St Thomas Opted to stay on the ship for the most part to enjoy the pools. Went shopping a little. There was quite a lot of shops there at the docks. The Paradise Point Tram looked exciting if not for the thought of dangling hundreds of feet in the air! Disembarkation Went smoothly. Were off the ship half hour after your tender colour was called. The luggage was found immediately. Getting a taxi is chaos. expect to pay someone to flag one down for you! To Sum Up The Good: The food. The staff was wonderful. Not one single staff member passed you by without saying hello. (yes even the ones who weren't getting a tip from you). Impeccable cleanliness.(our cabin steward Marcelo was on top of everything).The entertainment. The Bad: Some lunch buffets..it was like playing "name that food". The seating in lounges is not designed for anyone bigger than Twiggy. The elevators were slow but that is a given with all those people. The Ugly: The passengers who did nothing but complain. "oh I won't ever recommend this ship to anyone".....well jump ship and I'll throw you an oar! Get outta my vacation! Final Notes If you get seasick at all, come prepared as the ship rocked and shuddered the whole 10 days. Also, remember, you are on vacation..if things don't go perfect, oh well! c'est la vie...enjoy your time in paradise :) If you have any questions I didn't cover, don't hesitate to email me! May the wind never leave your sails! bilnik@shaw.caNovember 2002 Read Less
Just back from Millennium week of March 17, 2002-March 24, 2002. What a beautiful, classy ship. I thought I would write this review or sort of a review and share some of my thoughts about the experience. The weather was beautiful the ... Read More
Just back from Millennium week of March 17, 2002-March 24, 2002. What a beautiful, classy ship. I thought I would write this review or sort of a review and share some of my thoughts about the experience. The weather was beautiful the entire trip and that moon over the water, Wow! It is nothing like standing out on your own balcony watching the ships wake in the moonlight and other cruise ships following in the distance. Feeling the warm breeze on your face. It is really nice being back there on the rear of the ship because you are sheltered from the winds that others experience on the forward balconies. . Embarkation: . Really smooth and quick. (Disembarkation was another matter, more on that later) We drove to the port and after waiting in line at the main gate to have our ID's checked, we drove right up to the terminal door, Terminal 18. Directions to all the ships were on every corner. I pulled up, jumped out and a porter helped us get the luggage out of the car. He also assisted my wife with getting all of our heavy luggage inside the terminal. She waited for me there. I asked directions to the parking deck and off I went. One thing to note, make sure you come out the front of the deck because there are not any elevators in the back. I was on level four so I didn't have any problems with the steps but others could. Also, it will not take you where you need to be to catch the shuttle back to the terminal. I was not the only one that made this mistake, I just followed the others around front and there was a shuttle waiting to carry us back. My wife thought I was gone a long time but I thought it seemed right quick. You do pay 10 bucks a day for parking. It does seem to be a secure deck. I got off the bus at the terminal door and my wife had completed the first check in. We showed our tickets again, grabbed our carry ons and sent them through the x-ray and walked right up to the final ticket counter. It took about two minutes to check our IDs and passports again, set up our on board account and on to the escalator to board the ship. Stopped to have our pictures taken and walked right on the ship. Oh, by the way, the picture was horrible. . The Ship: . I was really impressed with Millie from the outside and could not wait to see her on the inside. We walked into the Grand Foyer and it really is beautiful. Not glitsy, just classy and elegant. The backlit, Onyx staircase is really impressive and it added even a more dramatic effect to the three-story room. We would spend a lot of our leisurely time in the areas above listening to the piano and the wonderful string quartet that played there almost daily. The Captains Cocktail party was held here just before dinner on the first formal night. I have to tell you that there is not an uncomfortable chair or sofa on the ship. . The chairs in the dining rooms, lounges and even the seats in the Celebrity Theater are very comfortable. The art was thought provoking, even if not in my taste, all of it matched the dEcor perfectly. The glass elevators were interesting to ride and gave a different view of the ocean. My stomach was a little queasy a couple of times on the ride up. I must admit that. The pool area was nice and pretty much the normal cruise ship pool. The "T" pool as I call it, was enjoyable but the greenery was all artificial. Since it is indoors, it would be good to use in cooler climates or in the evenings. All of the lounges are interesting and have great lighting. We would go listen to music or to have a drink before dinner in one of them every day. The Cosmos lounge is on the front of the ship and is beautiful. What a view from up there! The dEcor is fascinating! Our Stateroom: Larger than we thought it would be and the balcony was our favorite. It was big enough to enjoy and to be able to move around out there. It afforded us spectacular views while in port. Two lounge chairs and a table big enough to sit your drink on were provided. We had cabin 9164 aft. The dEcor was pretty cruise ship typical, but nice. There was plenty of closet space and a nice desk or dressing table area where my wife put on her makeup. There was a small loveseat and table where we sat in the mornings and had our coffee. Our room steward, Steve was excellent and kept out cabin in tiptop shape. He seemed to be around when we needed him and also knew when we were out. He always provided fresh towels and the bathroom was always clean. We never had to call or ask for anything. Great job Steve! He helped to make our vacation special. . Dining: . Since I had read mixed reviews concerning dining on Millie, we were eager to find out for ourselves. We wanted to see if the cuisine on Celebrity measured up to their much-tooted reputation. In our opinion it did. All of the food was prepared to our liking and if something was not good it was not due to bad quality, just a bad choice. There were things we liked better than others but it was a matter of personal preference Dining in The Metropolitan was wonderful and our waiter and assistant attended to us in a professional and courteous manner. The presentation was some of the best that I have ever seen. The table was beautifully set and they alternated between a vase of fresh orchids and a candle on formal nights. Our waiter was so good that if you ordered iced tea the first night you had it each additional night. The Sommelier was available if you wanted wine with your meal but never was pushy about it. I never had a glass in the dining room because we would usually go to one of the lounges before dinner and have a drink. I did think the wine list was good even though somewhat pricey for the selections provided. I would have preferred to bring my own because I am picky about the wines I like. Let me tell you that the mushroom bisque was absolutely delicious. My wife liked the cold soups that she tried. I could eat my weight in those crispy breadsticks. We did go to The Olympic and really enjoyed the experience. The food quality was not any better than that in the main dining room but it was worth the additional dollars for the pampering. I had New York Strip prepared tableside and my wife had a veal dish. We both agreed they were excellent. The suggested wines for each course could cost you a fortune. I had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc with my entree that was very good. The Goat Cheese SoufflE was terrific, as was my Chocolate SoufflE. My wife had the sample platter of Michael Roux desserts that included Crème Broulee, Mint Mousse as well as a few other mini selections. These were all arranged on a plate with a signed Roux chocolate in the center, which was a very nice touch. The cheese course at the end of the meal was fun and I just asked for a sampling of the stronger selections. My wife asked for the milder choices. We then had coffee and they brought us a three-tiered silver tray of assorted chocolates and petit fours. The staff of The Olympic was good but it seemed that they were falling over each other and I noticed a lot of movement that I thought was distracting at times. I did enjoy watching them at work. My wife had her back to most of it and did not notice. I recommend the experience, so go, enjoy and let them pamper you. . The buffet in the Ocean grill for Breakfast and Lunch was also very good. For Breakfast, there is nothing that you could possibly want that is not there. A selection of cereals, fruit, cheeses, breads of all kinds to full breakfast fare such as eggs, bacon, sausage and omelet's made to order. Lunch included salads of all kinds, fresh fruits and a different assortment of dishes each day. The Rivera Grill out by the pool served burgers, (the burgers were somewhat dry) great hotdogs and other sandwiches. My wife thought the french-fries were the best she had ever eaten. . On one afternoon we went to Formal Tea in The Metropolitan. Even if you don't enjoy this formal ritual, go at least once. A long table holds all of the food near the entrance to the room as well as an ice sculpture and the carved fruit animals. After you are seated, each guest is served their own teapot and then you can select your favorite tea from the "Tea Box" as I called it. The little sandwiches are pretty and tasty. I really loved the ones with Shrimp Salad. They actually bring platters of them and let you make your selection. Then comes the dessert cart. The best and I mean best, Strawberry Shortcake I have ever eaten. There are also cheesecakes, tarts and various pastries of all kinds. Informal Tea is also served in the Ocean Grill for those that want to come in their shorts or bathing suits. . Ports of Call: . I am not going to say too much about this. It really does not matter what ship or cruise line you go on. They are going to be the same with any Eastern Caribbean sailing. San Juan has its charm and old world beauty. St. Thomas has great shopping and by far is our favorite Port-of-call on this cruise. Do take the tram ride to Paradise Point as it is worth the fifteen-dollar price for the view it affords. Nassau is Nassau. I can't comment on Catalina Island even though we watched the festivities from our balcony. We did not even leave the ship to go over there. You must tender to the island. I thought it was not very tropical looking and I think the palm trees were planted there to give it a tropical feel. There is not a single palm tree on any of the neighboring islands, that is just my observation. Father Company RCI owns the island. Our dining companions that went said the food was good but the beach was rocky and it was not a great snorkeling site. It was fun to watch the Waverunners and banana riders from the ship. . Entertainment: . We thought the entertainment was good and sometimes very good. The first show we did not see but were told it was very good. The second show was entitled Platinum and we both thought it never quite got off the ground. The third production show, Classique, was very well done and I think the voices lend themselves to the numbers better than in the previous show. The Celebrity Dancers were good but not great and the sets and lighting as well as the costumes were very good. The shows for the other evenings consisted of Comedians and a vocalist. We liked them as well. The Celebrity Orchestra was terrific. . Disembarkation: . Well if anything needs improvement, this is it. Of course the first thing you have to do that morning is go to present yourselves to immigration. Early that morning and I mean early. They start at 6:30 I believe, which is not that bad considering they want you out of your stateroom by 8 a.m. You parade through and each passenger stops briefly to show their identification. When disembarkation begins you basically sit in one of the public areas and wait for your color to be called. (They publish the call order in the ships paper the night before.) The process was fairly smooth and everyone was off the ship within an hour. The problems begin when you leave the terminal. Don't be in a hurry because you will not get out of there quickly. Seas of luggage and passengers waiting for shuttles and the steady stream of taxis caused major traffic jams. Two thousand passengers and also early arriving guest for the next cruise cause a major MESS. Since we had driven down to the port, I had to get back to the mid-port parking garage to get our car and then drive back and pick-up my wife and our luggage. The shuttle could not get in so you stand and wait. I kept thinking that I could walk back to get the car. It is a little further than you think and there are no sidewalks so that idea was quickly forgotten. This is not Celebrity's fault but there has to be a better way. Finally, about an hour later I was able to get back to the terminal and pick up my wife and our luggage. . Final Thoughts: . Did we love the ship? Absolutely. Would we cruise Celebrity again? Definitely! Was the cruise perfect? No, nothing is, but pretty close! Overall it did exceed our expectations in many ways. There were lots of children on this cruise due to Spring Break. I never saw any of them get out of hand and by what I heard they all enjoyed themselves tremendously. They announced that there were 253 on board that week. I had worried about going during this time because of kids being out of school and so forth but it turned out to be fine. My wife and I thought the experience was wonderful. We experienced very few disgruntled people and the ones that were, probably just complainers. We did expect a high standard of service and for the most part we got it. All of the crew were very good to us and were always friendly and eager to help you in any way. We never experienced any problems with them at all. Everyone has different expectations of the ship, the cruise line, the crew, food and what matters most to them. There were things that I thought could be worked on but they were just little things. We both talked about the fact that we would like to see more fresh flowers on the ship. There were some, but most of them were silk and in need of replacement. Some of the things that I had read about such as the "vibrations" that are supposedly on Millennium, we never heard. No noise was ever heard from other guests in their stateroom. There were occasional "bumps" from above (we were just under the outside dining area) but they did not bother us. My suggestion, sail this beautiful ship, or one of her sisters, and find out for yourself. Oh, and by the way, get a cabin with a Balcony. It is worth the difference. . charlie.reese@wachovia.comMay 2002 Read Less
Ultimate Caribbean / 11 nights - Adults Only We are Jim and Sue, in our lower 50's, married about a year ago all kids grown and gone. Our cruising choices tend toward the ships that offer a more elegant experience rather than a ... Read More
Ultimate Caribbean / 11 nights - Adults Only We are Jim and Sue, in our lower 50's, married about a year ago all kids grown and gone. Our cruising choices tend toward the ships that offer a more elegant experience rather than a casual style. For Caribbean cruises, we book for the ship and number of sea days, not for the ports. This was our second cruise with Celebrity; the first was a 14-night cruise on Mercury. It was on this first cruise that we became acquainted with Captain Adamidis and his wife Joyce. I kept in contact with Joyce via email over the past months so when I found that they would be on this ship I was delighted. We also schedule our cruises around times that there will be few children onboard so the new adults-only concept sounded good. We had never been on a ship as large as Millennium and weren't sure we would like it. We loved it! She is by far the most beautiful ship we've ever sailed. I loved the art and the colors throughout the ship. This sailing was also the introductory sailing of Celebrity's new marketing strategy so I'll include a few comments on those as well. We flew into Fort Lauderdale the day prior to sailing and stayed at the Renaissance. The hotel was very nice and the Jacuzzi tub in our Jr. Suite felt good after the plane flight. We had dinner at the hotel and then "kicked back" and relaxed until bedtime. The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel and at 11:30 took a taxi to the ship. Monday - sail away from Fort Lauderdale Check-in was a breeze; there was only one couple ahead of us in the line for Captains Club and Suites. We presented our documents and credit card and received an introductory letter and one explaining that we would not be stopping in Columbia. As we turned to go to the boarding area a lovely lady who introduced herself as Melanie Burger, the Social Hostess approached us and asked us to step aside as Joyce wanted to be called when we arrived. Soon Dru Pavlov, the Assistant Cruise Director, joined us. We had a nice chat about the ship and all the new things being introduced on this cruise. Within about 10 minutes Joyce came running down the escalator to greet us. As she escorted us onboard into the Grand Foyer, we were handed a glass of chilled champagne - one of the new changes being introduced and a really class touch. There were already a number of people in the Foyer as cabins would not be ready until 1:00. This is a big improvement over sitting in an uncomfortable terminal waiting room, as we have done on several cruises. The Grand Foyer is a stunning public room, with the glowing staircase in the middle and many chairs grouped with tables for chatting. After we had looked around the room, Joyce checked with Nickos Batistatos, the Hotel Manager, and said that our Royal Suite was ready. Since I couldn't wait to see it she escorted us. As we took the midship glass elevators to the Penthouse deck I watched the other passengers; some loved the view of the sea and others hid their eyes. Wow, is the only description I have for the room - the walls are wood paneled and the carpet and soft furniture are done in light neutral colors. Mirrors were used to make the 538 sq. ft suite look even bigger. It was certainly the most beautiful cabin we've ever had (and also the most expensive). The bathroom had a wonderful Jacuzzi tub with jets that massaged your back - I ended up soaking in the tub almost every day. It also had double sinks, a large shower with nice glass doors, several storage shelves and of course, the toilet. On the balcony (195 sq. ft.) outside the living room sliding doors were two padded teak lounge chairs and outside the sliding doors from the bedroom was another Jacuzzi tub and a table and chairs. We enjoyed our morning coffee each day at this table and spent many hours sitting on the balcony. We used the outside Jacuzzi a few times, mostly just as a way to cool off while we were sunning. It is rather small and shallow and not nearly as nice as the one in the bathroom, but certainly a nice addition to the large balcony. The suite had plenty of storage cupboards and a small walk-in closet. I particularly enjoyed having a dressing table all to myself. I was glad I had my lighted makeup mirror, as the little area where it is located isn't too bright in the evenings. I had heard that the suite was very dark, but we found it to be well lighted and even wished that there were dimmer switches for the overhead lights as they were quite bright. There are two flat panel TV's, one in the bedroom and one in the living room. The living room also had a CD player. We began unpacking as our bags arrived, located our lifejackets for the drill and read the daily program and other information in the cabin. Soon the 15-minute warning announcement for the safety-at-sea drill was made and we donned our lifejackets. I love to watch the expressions on the faces of first-time cruisers as they go through this necessary procedure. Immediately after the drill we went back to our cabin to pop the complementary bottle of champagne and watch the sail-away. I called a couple we had "met" on the Internet, Ray and Joann, and invited them to join us. As it turned out, they were absolutely delightful and we met with them several times during the trip. At 6:00 we went to dinner...always an interesting experience. Would we like our tablemates? Yes! Although we were at a table for six, only one other couple was seated there. They were a great British couple, Norman and Maria, so I knew we would have enjoyable dinners. Our table was on the main level slightly to the left and in front of the Captain's table. The Metropolitan dining room is beautiful and not too crowded and we were able to hear the music played by the quartet on the upper level. The view out the large aft window makes a stunning setting. I loved the lighted blue stained glass ceiling - it gave the room a feeling of a skylight. The only drawback was that the chairs lacked armrests and I think chairs with them are more comfortable. After dinner (casual attire) we went back to the suite and found our cabin tidied up, the bed turned down, the daily program and an Invitation to dine at the Captain's Table the following evening. To me, that is the biggest honor one can receive while sailing so I was thrilled and glad that we had already sent Jim's tux for pressing. We had a nightcap and "watched the water go by" until bedtime. This really is a life I could get used to! Tuesday - Key West We woke up about 7:00 (we're by nature early people) and called Lawry, our butler, for breakfast. After lounging around with coffee and rolls for a couple hours we decided it was time to go ashore. We walked to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville for a cheeseburger in paradise and a margarita even though it was only 10:30 in the morning. Then we slowly wandered our way back to the ship. After boarding we went to the conservatory flower shop to get a boutonnière for Jim. It is a great shop - it took me a while to realize that some of the arrangements were artificial flowers. We had scheduled an "unofficial" Cruise Critic party for 2:30, a half hour after sailing. Over 50 people had joined the message board post so a few days before sailing Celebrity contacted me and said they would host the party. Forty-seven people attended the party, which was very nice - drinks and appetizers were provided by Celebrity and served by waiters. We met wonderful people, some of which we were able to invite to our suite for cocktails at other times during the trip. Joyce and Melanie both attended the party, as did two people from Celebrity headquarters and a couple of Officers. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. The party was in the Platinum Club, the champagne and martini bar areas. This is one of my favorite rooms on the ship; I loved the silver, grays and purple. The lighting effects in the ceiling change from day to night and the room takes on a whole different look. The center of the room is open to the Rendezvous Lounge underneath it so you can listen to the music being played below. After the party it was time to dress (formal attire) for the Captain's Welcome party and formal dinner at the Captain's Table. We had plenty of time because the Captain's table is at the late seating (we usually eat early). Jim's tux was hanging back in the room and I chose my new gown for that special night. We attended the Captain's Welcome party prior to dinner that was held in the Grand Foyer. With nearly 2000 people onboard, they have done away with the long reception lines to shake hands with the Captain and Officers and I found I liked the change. We met the rest of those invited to the Captain's Table in the Rendezvous in a special reserved area and then Melanie escorted us to the table. As I said earlier, this, to me, is the nicest honor you can receive. We were seated at the end of the table with Jim to Joyce's right and I was at the end of the table so we were able to visit with the Captain and her very easily. Although the wait staff in the dining room is very good, the service at this table is excellent which just adds to the fun of being there. At the end of dinner, each woman was presented with a red rose as a gift from Captain Adamidis; mine lasted in a vase until the end of the cruise. We declined going to the show and returned to our cabin. Although we love the formal nights, it felt very good to shed the clothes and slip into bathrobes! A short nightcap on the balcony and we were off to bed. Wednesday - sea day (stop at Cozumel canceled) During the night we hit the remnants of Hurricane Isadore and it became a bit rough. Jim got up and moved to the couch during the night because the rock & roll was keeping him awake and making him feel a little queasy. He even took a Bonine. I'm lucky, the rocking just put me to sleep but the lightning flashes woke me several times - I sleep better on a ship than anywhere else. Lawry delivered our coffee and rolls and as we sat outside Jim described the great lightning show I missed. Then he announced that he thought he'd go back to bed and try to get some sleep. I sat outside and watched the ship approach Cozumel. After three attempts to dock the Captain reversed course and made an announcement that the port would be canceled for the safety of the ship and passengers. A revised daily schedule was prepared with many added activities and delivered to the cabin very quickly. I only heard a couple passengers grumble about the missed port; most seemed very accepting and shared my attitude of "if you book a trip during hurricane season, you might get a hurricane [duh!]." It was fun to meet and talk to the people from the party as I wandered around the ship. Jim woke up early afternoon feeling much better and wanted to go to the buffet to eat. Even only choosing a few items, we ate too much and ended up skipping dinner. The lunch, goodies with tea and the appetizers brought by Lawry were more than enough! Thursday - sea day Lawry brought our coffee and rolls, which we took outside on the balcony and then soaked in the Jacuzzi. After dressing, we went to explore the ship. At the photo gallery, I picked up our boarding picture, browsed some of the shops - it is the nicest shopping area of any ship I've sailed. Mid-morning we went to a "fun and informative talk" given by Joyce and Edwin Rojas about her book If I Were Not Upon The Sea. The book is a great read and to hear her tell the stories is even better. I really recommend it for anyone that is curious about the life of cruise ship staff. It's for sale on Millennium - I don't know about other ships. We went to the Ocean Buffet for lunch. The food was quite good for a buffet and there were a good variety of items from which to choose but the best was the cinnamon ice cream for dessert. We spent a couple hours on the balcony sunning and reading - which for us means a few minutes in the sun - a quick dip in the Jacuzzi to cool off and a few minutes sitting in the shade and then a repeat - we probably look like we are playing musical chairs. That night we had dinner reservations in the Olympic to celebrate Ray and Joann's 49th anniversary. Joyce joined us for dinner and Ray presented each of the women with a long stemmed rose. I added it to the vase in the cabin with the rose from the Captain. The Olympic is well worth the surcharge (or gratuity as Celebrity prefers to call it). We spent some time looking at the pictures and items from the original ship that are on display in the entry. We ate in the larger white dining room; it's very spacious, elegant and quiet. At first reading the menu seems a little skimpy as you can only choose soup or salad but the food is so rich and filling that we absolutely waddled out. Everyone at the table had either the Steak Dianne or Shrimp Scampi; both cooked tableside. The desserts are to die for; the favorite seems to be a chocolate mousse but I had the Waldorf pudding and it was exceptional! I should note here that the attire for the evening was casual but for the Olympic it is always informal to formal so we dressed up. Friday - Costa Rica We awoke to find the ship just heading into port and had our coffee watching from the balcony. As we've visited this port before, we didn't leave the ship at all. I thought this would be a good day to check out the spa and the Thalassotherapy pool. It always takes a bit of convincing to get Jim to go with me, but he grinned and agreed. The pool was nearly empty so we soaked on the bubble lounger a bit and then in the Jacuzzi, but all in all, the T-pool on the Mercury was much better. On Millennium, the pool is larger but there were few massaging jets and the waterfall spouts didn't have enough force to really massage your neck and shoulders. The spa area is beautiful and we were able to see into several of the treatment rooms - they looked very nice. I can see where this would be a very popular area during bad weather or trips to cooler climates and it is restricted to adults only on all sailings. We decided that this would be a nice day to do a "sail-away" cocktail party in the suite, so we filled out invitations that I'd made on the computer at home prior to leaving and delivered them to the various cabins around the ship. The butler will do this for you, but we found it a way to see other areas we had yet to explore. We ended up sitting under an umbrella in the cafe on the 10th deck aft having a nice cool pina colada. Then back to the cabin to prepare for the party. I called Lawry and asked him for extra appetizers, ice and another champagne bucket. He set everything up beautifully and even checked in several times during the party to make sure we had everything we needed. Everyone we invited came - 4 couples and us; it was a casual attire evening so everyone was relaxed and seemed to have a good time. We were too full of champagne and appetizers to go to dinner, so we skipped it. Saturday - Panama We were drinking our coffee as the ship pulled into port. The terminal building and surrounding area were perhaps the nicest of any we've seen; it appeared that everything had a fresh coat of paint - bright yellow and blue, very tropical. Since we waited too long to make a decision on the Train excursion and missed booking it, we got off the ship and browsed the many sellers of local handicrafts and then watched a folk dancing exhibition. The weather was beautiful so we wandered around the dock area a little and took some pictures of the exterior of the ship - She's really impressive looking all the way from the bow to the stern. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and reading. It sounds like we're really boring people when I read what I've written, but we both have rather high stress jobs and work long hours so for us this is heaven! We made it to dinner (informal attire) that night and had a great dinner and wonderful conversation with Norman and Maria. Sunday - at sea By now you've figured out our morning routine, coffee and rolls on the balcony followed by the soak in the Jacuzzi. Joyce invited me to have lunch in their quarters so I could have a chance to spend a little time with their son Haris. This was a difficult trip for him because he was restricted to the Captain's and crew areas due to the adults-only sailing. He is 5 and usually spends afternoons at the Fun Factory with the other kids. Their cabin is very nice and very large - as is befitting the Master of the ship. It also doubles as the Captain's office so there is an attached conference room. For this Adults-Only Escape Cruise Celebrity designated this as Valentine's Day to add a little love and romance to the trip. I'm not sure if there were any special activities, but given that I'd packed a red gown, I wore it for dinner (formal attire). Monday - Aruba Aruba is one of our favorite ports so after our coffee and the usual routine we headed off the ship. This also allowed for the early rush of people to already be gone. Our first stop (well, not quite first as I had to look in all the jewelry stores we passed) was Iguana Joe's for Jim to have his Banana ByeBye - a drink he says is the best ever; so good, he had another. To me it tastes like a banana daiquiri but he insists that it is much better. I had a pina colada and we shared a huge plate of nachos and then browsed around - mostly jewelry shops. Although I didn't buy anything this trip, Jim got a nice watch. We decided it would be a good day to have the full dinner service in the suite and called Lawry for the dinner menu. He came back later to take our order and ask the time for delivery - 6:30. He set our dining table with a linen cloth and all the silver and glassware and promptly at 6:30 he arrived with appetizers and breads, shortly after that he brought the soup and salads. He is magic because just as we finished those, he came back with our entrees and dessert followed. This is one of the things Celebrity does better (for suites) than any other line we've sailed - the others just deliver your entire order and drop it off. If you get the chance, I recommend that you have dinner one night in your suite. Tuesday - at sea Well, we're finally relaxed and really enjoying our little home and routine and we realized we were in the home stretch - aaack, not ready for it to be over! I intended to go to Origami and the ice carving demonstration, but we were too busy relaxing and I missed both of them. I did run into Joann and Ray while looking at the photo gallery and we had a drink in Michaels Piano Bar. Michaels, as the cigar bar was one of our favorite places and I was glad to see that they hadn't changed the dEcor at all. It reminds me of a Gentlemen's Smoking Room on the old liners - I'm sure this is the feeling they were originally going for. There are now three smoking tables; the rest of the bar is non-smoking. It seems that there just wasn't enough use as a cigar bar to make it a viable business option. During the day the Captain made an announcement that Hurricane Lilli had just passed over the Caymans and that the tenders would not be able to run the next day so we would be at sea and go to Nassau in the Bahamas the following day. Another change that didn't bother us at all - in fact, since we had never been to Nassau, we welcomed it. We decided this would be a good day for another cocktail party so we did the invites and delivered them. The attire for the evening was informal so we were more dressed up than for the first one. I thought we all looked quite elegant in the beautiful setting of the Royal Suite. Again Lawry provided everything we needed and again we skipped dinner. I've got to figure out how to eat more on these trips - we miss out on an awfully lot of good food! Wednesday - at sea (Grand Cayman canceled) This morning while drinking coffee, I commented that I sure could use a massage and Jim said, "Call and book one". It only took me about a minute to reach the phone and have one booked for 10:30 in the suite. That meant he had to go to the disembarkation talk when I had already agreed I'd attend. He took it with little grumbling and off he went. Tracie, the masseuse, and an assistant arrived and set up the massage table and I lay down for an hour of pampering. Jim came back at about 11:00 and went out to sit on the balcony so as not to disturb us. A few minutes later the Captain announced that there were whales to port so I jumped off the table, wrapped the purple towel around me and ran out to tell Jim. Well, everyone on our side of the ship were also out on their balconies to see the whales and I realized that they could see me wrapped in the little purple towel. I was hoping everyone was looking out to sea, but several people commented to me later that they had seen me in the towel. (Blush!) The Captains Club cocktail party took place in Cosmos before early dinner and was well attended. For this party there was a reception line and we had the opportunity to thank Captain Adamidis for a great trip. We also saw several of our new friends from Cruise Critics. We found Ray and Joann and sat with them. The Captain made a very nice speech about the new enhancements to Celebrity sailings and explaining why the changes in our itinerary were necessary. Dinner was exceptional that night and ended with the introduction of the dining room and galley staff and the Baked Alaska Parade. Before bed we stopped in the Rendezvous and listened to the Flagship Orchestra playing Big Band music - very enjoyable...if only Jim would dance. The dance floor was very busy that night and some of the dancers were very good. I watched the Gentleman Hosts on this trip and want to comment that I thought they were much better than those on our last few trips. These two gentlemen danced almost every dance and seemed to be making sure that any of the unaccompanied ladies had a partner. Thursday - Bahamas (substituted for Grand Cayman) We were anxious to see Nassau because we had never been to it before and the port area looked very nice. We actually hurried a bit through our breakfast and went into town. It is a great place to browse - I love the jewelry stores although they are the same in most of the ports. We both bought tee shirts and Jim got a shot glass for his collection so we didn't break the bank here either. We ended up in a nice little cafe for a drink and a conch salad; then it was back to the ship. The iced towels handed out when you reboarded really felt good (another of the new enhancements). It was time for the much-dreaded repacking. It's not as difficult as packing because there is no choosing what to take or carefully folding to avoid wrinkles, but I hate it anyway. We got most of it done and realized it was almost time to sail. A quick call to our friends Ray and Joann, and the couple next door, Chuck and Kathy, and we had one last sail away party with the last of the champagne. We went down to the dining room to say good-bye to Norman and Maria and to give our waiters their envelopes, but didn't stay for dinner. After leaving the Metropolitan, we wandered around the ship. We picked up one more picture from the photo gallery and I fed my usual $10 into the slot machine. Jim joked that this time it took less than 60 seconds for me to loose it. The casino is large and highly decorated with mirrors and statues, much like Las Vegas casinos. I like it, but heard others say they thought it was gaudy. The traffic patterns on that deck force you to walk through the casino to get from one end of the ship to the other and they have designed the casino where you have to zigzag through the machines and tables to get through it - a good marketing tactic, I'm sure! On the formal nights the casino was full of people and looked very elegant. Friday - Fort Lauderdale (or the fat lady sings) We ordered our usual breakfast and dressed (yes, we remembered to save clothes to wear) while we were eating it. Then we just sat on the balcony until we were called and talked about all the special things that had happened for us on this trip and the great people we'd met. Our moods seemed to alternate between very happy and sad that it was ending. Disembarkation was the easiest ever. Passengers were allowed to stay in their cabins until their color tag was called. This is much better than everyone crowding into public areas and tripping over the carry-on luggage. We had white tags and were the first group called. Customs and Immigration were cleared quickly and we didn't have too much trouble locating our luggage in the "happy hunting grounds." A porter assisted us to a taxi and we were off to the airport. We had booked a late flight because our last experience getting out of Fort Lauderdale airport wasn't good but were able to get on an 11:45 flight. I called the limo company in Denver to advise them of the change and they met us on time. So now we're home...stacks of laundry, mow the lawn, clean the house and off to work on Monday. We were lucky because we had Saturday and Sunday to get caught up. Summary and thank you's First, I'd like to say that everyone's cruise experience is different - it's what you make of it. We enjoy the relaxation, pampering, elegance and "watching the sea go by" so we always book the best cabin we can afford because we spend a lot of time in it. Some friends that cruise often are the opposite - they don't want to dress up and they do excursions at every port so they book less expensive cabins because they don't spend any time in them (they also book another line where they don't have to dress up). It pays to compare what the different cruise lines offer before you book and to deal with a knowledgeable travel agent. I'm sure I forgot to mention things during this review such as High Tea in the Olympic, which was delightful. I had intended to do a day-by-day diary on the computer in the suite, but that never happened so this was done at home. I did use the computer for email. We had so many special treats on this trip starting with Roswita Arnet, Director of Total Guest Satisfaction, who contacted me prior to sailing and offered to have Celebrity host our Cruise Critic party. She contacted me the first day onboard and we met in Cova Cafe to make sure all the details were worked out. Then later in the trip a huge bouquet from her was delivered to the suite. Along the same line I should thank Bob Kesler, Vice President of Total Guest Satisfaction, who was onboard and came to the CC party. He was very interested in getting our input on the new enhancements - and delightful to talk with. Nickos Batistatos, Hotel Manager, and George Traiganis, Office Supervisor Hotel Manager, also attended the party and visited with the guests. All of these people really went out of their way to give us a good time. Thanks and congratulations also need to go to Celebrity CEO, Richard Fain, Jack Williams, and Dietmar Wertanzl for taking steps to keep Celebrity a step above the other cruise lines. Captain Adamidis (and all the bridge staff) did a magnificent job of keeping us in good weather and calm seas while avoiding two hurricanes and he is absolutely charming to talk with. [Oops, ended with a preposition] How do you possibly thank everyone? A few more special thanks: Melanie, Social Hostess, Edwin, Cruise Director, and Lawry, our Butler deserve special note, but everyone on the ship deserves to be mentioned. The biggest thank you goes to Joyce Adamidis, whom I'm proud to call my friend, with her sparkling personality and never ending energy she made this trip perfect for us. Now the great people we met onboard - mostly due to the Cruise Critic message board and party: Ray and Joann - thank you for the orchid arrangement and your company many times during the trip. Josie - thank you for the embroidered guest towel. Don, Florence & Edith. Nancy and Frank, Tina & Javiar, Jerry & Denice, Mike & Maria, Chuck & Kathy and many others - I hope you'll forgive me for not remembering all the names. I'm already looking for our next cruise - perhaps the Mediterranean next summer on the Millennium. Right now, that seems a long way off - so I might find something before then that we just can't resist.SueClarkPhoto@msn.comNovember 2002 Read Less
Cruising With A Handicapped Person For the past six years I have been traveling with my Mother. Unfortunately last summer she suffered a stroke which has left her with some residual physical effects. She needs to use a walker ... Read More
Cruising With A Handicapped Person For the past six years I have been traveling with my Mother. Unfortunately last summer she suffered a stroke which has left her with some residual physical effects. She needs to use a walker or a wheel chair. However her illness has not deterred her yen for traveling which we did about three or four times a year. So in January when she asked "where are we going in February?'," I decided to try a cruise. After some investigation I discovered that ships do have handicapped accessible cabins. I chose Celebrity's Millennium for our maiden voyage with a wheel chair and a walker. For those of you who are considering such a venture, you will need a doctor's letter in order to book a handicapped accessible cabin. Our adventure began on Sunday morning when we arrived at the dock in Fort Lauderdale to board the ship. As soon as we walked through the doors of the building, a Celebrity staffer took charge of us. He took charge of our papers, took us directly to the check in point, checked us in and escorted us to the gangplank of the ship where a steward took over, and wheeled Mother and I to our stateroom. Once inside we were pleasantly surprised to find that the bathroom had no "step up," was large enough to accommodate either a wheelchair or a walker, and that the shower had a pull down seat to allow for safe bathing. The stateroom was also large enough to allow for easy mobility around the furniture with a walker or a wheelchair. Perhaps the piece de la resistance was our huge veranda which boasted four chaises, two chairs and a table. We so enjoyed sitting on our veranda and enjoying the beautiful sunsets with our favorite liquid libation. While on the ship I had no end of help in pushing Mother around in her wheel chair. With a ship that was almost 1000 feet long, this was a great help. As soon as we appeared in any of the public areas where there was cruise staff, they almost always offered to push the chair. Perhaps the ultimate accommodation occurred when we were in port shopping and mother's wheel chair broke. Upon returning to the ship, another chair appeared to get her back to the cabin. When I spoke to guest relations about using their chair until the end of the cruise, I was told "They fix this ship, they should be able to fix a wheel chair." The chair needed to be welded, so I was not too confident that it would be fixed. However, about two hours later our stateroom attendant returned with the chair welded back together. After our wonderful experience with the staff of the Millennium and the wonderful accommodations, I need not fear traveling with a wheel chair, walker, and oh, Mom too! KJP201@aol.com Read Less
Hi, I've just arrived back home from cruising on the Millennium for 12 days around the Caribbean, on one of their new adults only "escape" cruises. For anyone thinking of taking this sort of cruise, then let me tell you ... Read More
Hi, I've just arrived back home from cruising on the Millennium for 12 days around the Caribbean, on one of their new adults only "escape" cruises. For anyone thinking of taking this sort of cruise, then let me tell you "do it!". Absolutely perfect, well 95%. In the past people have been complaining about embarkation and disembarkation, well Celebrity are clearly the winners at the moment. We arrived around midday and Monday 23rd Sept 2002 and by 1220pm my wife and I were drinking the free champagne given to you as you walked onto the ship. Excellent! From there on in, everything went just as we'd expected it to...Just a slight lack of communication when we changed staterooms to one of the Royal Suites, and our luggage seemed to get lost and didn't arrive at our room until 8pm that evening, having been sat at Guest Relations with our room number penned out and unreadable. Anyway, once again the staff were outstanding and always there to help with absolutely anything. The only real other problem was the weather i.e. Hurricanes Isidore and Lili. Just prior to us boarding the ship we found out that one of the stops in Columbia had been cancelled, which we thought ok fair enough, can't do anything about the hurricanes. Then we set off frantically watching where Isidore was going, we did our first stop in Key West, which was beautiful, then made our way to Cozumel. The Capt then attempted to get into the port at Cozumel and had to pull out with seconds to spare (as he stated at Cocktail Party) due to the strong under currents and bad weather, and therefore Cozumel was cancelled. We then had to sail to Costa Rica which was an extra day away now and this lead to the first extra day at sea. (so 2 stops now missed). Staff had to make alternative arrangements for activities onboard, and appeared to struggle with ideas at last minute. Bands onboard would come out and play their set pieces and it became apparent that they then played the exact same songs and they had done only hours earlier and also from the previous day. For those who went on this cruise and read this then the group "The Fundamentals", I thought were appalling. They played 3 songs and left the stage, and this happened on most days of the cruise, who ever employed these 4 guys really need to rethink their contract. Also a solo artist playing his guitar, well, I've got no words to describe this person, and just wanted to throw him overboard! Any staff from Celebrity reading this "do not employ this artist, embarrassment for your company". We then got to the port of Costa Rica.. future cruisers please make sure you book an excursion for this stop or just don't get off the ship.... I've never seen such a dirty hole in all my life. I'm assured that the rest of the island is very nice, but the port Celebrity stopped at was disgusting!!! Drug pushers, beggars and thieves all around you soon as you get out of the port. We lasted 2 1/2 minutes and turned around and went back to the ship. Celebrity you need to change this port or stress the point of excursions for this stop. The next stop was Colon, slightly better than Costa Rica (Puerto Limon) but again, book an excursion before you decide to get off. Nothing again to see, and we had about 30 minutes off the ship before getting back onboard. We then left for Aruba in between another few days at sea, and again the band played exactly the same songs and was now becoming music that was quite annoying do it being repetitive. Stopped at Aruba, beautiful, then onto Grand Cayman. Everybody had excursions booked and most popular was snorkeling with the stingrays. Just as we left Aruba comes and announcement from the Capt that he has now decided to cancel Grand Cayman due to Hurricane Lili and he stated that Celebrity had decided to go to Nassau instead. All excursions cancelled and money reimbursed and another 2 days at sea!! With the same bands playing by the pool getting more and more ignored by the passengers and clearly ran out of things to sing. Very disappointed that this stop off was cancelled and therefore missed a total of 3 stops from the itinerary and several extra days at sea, which is not want we went for. Nassau was a great stop, but again feel it was done to the advantage of Celebrity and not for the passengers, i.e. surrounded by other islands down near the Cayman islands could have produced an opportunity to put in at least 2 stops, making up for the ones already cancelled. Nassau is closer to Key West and Florida therefore a lot easier for Celebrity to finish the cruise and dock at Ft Lauderdale extremely early on the final day. Apart from the repetitive entertainment that wasn't very entertaining and the itinerary being cut short with no offers of compensation then the only other gripe was the amount of elderly people onboard. Please don't take this the wrong way but think it would be more appealing if the cruise were for those between perhaps 21 and 40. It appeared on this cruise that most of the guests were either 21-35 who were on their honeymoons or 55 plus, possibly enjoying retirement. We were a bit disappointed about the standard of the shows onboard this time on formal nights. The singers on the shows were not really up to the high standard of previous shows we've seen, but the dancers were excellent. There was 3 main shows on this cruise and the only one close to their usual standard was that on the last formal night on the Wednesday (2nd Oct). Praise goes to the main male singer (tenor singer) whose performance was 100%. Finally for those thinking of cruising on the Millennium then please don't let any of the above comments put you off, we would go on another cruise on this ship tomorrow if we could, the staff make the trip. For those who have never cruised then when you're paying your tips at the end of you cruise then leave it to as late as possible. Either at the very last minute on the last night or early on the final morning. The only downside of the staff on cruise ships and we witnessed it again this time, is the attitude of the restaurant staff once you paid your tips. Go to breakfast in the restaurant on the morning of disembarkation and see how differently they treat you. It makes you feel that when you've paid them their tips they don't want to know you. The service is super fast and they want you out there as soon as possible. Cruise companies need to improve this and if not will only leave themselves wide open for criticism like this. The Millennium is a beautiful ship with more than enough amenities to keep you occupied and the food, well find out for yourself. ade-anita@lineone.net December 2002 Read Less
My wife and I sailed Celebrity's Millennium November 11-18, 2001. This was our third cruise, having sailed previously on Ocean Princess and Voyager of the Seas. We chose Millennium because we wanted to try Celebrity and were ... Read More
My wife and I sailed Celebrity's Millennium November 11-18, 2001. This was our third cruise, having sailed previously on Ocean Princess and Voyager of the Seas. We chose Millennium because we wanted to try Celebrity and were interested in the newer class of Celebrity ships. Pre-cruise We arrived in Fort Lauderdale a day early, and chose to stay at the Marina Marriott because of its proximity to the cruise port and the Intercoastal Waterway. The Marriott is a lovely hotel, and we were impressed with the service and location. We had intended to see the sights on the water taxi, but got distracted with the many other things to see and do. We ate lunch at Goosby's, an outdoor bar/snack bar, and had dinner at LaMarina. Both meals were quite good for hotel restaurant fare. Embarkation We awoke Sunday morning to see Millennium, Grand Princess and other ships docked at the cruise port. After a leisurely breakfast on our balcony, we took a cab to the port, arriving there at approximately 10:00. After about an hour wait, the gates were opened, and we were among the first to clear security and make our way to the check in counter. Celebrity's computer systems were down that morning, but the staff handled check in admirably using a manual process. We were on our way to the ship in virtually no time. We were told that the staterooms would not be ready until about 1:00, but we went to our room, met our cabin steward, dropped off our carryons and proceeded to look over the ship and find some lunch. Stateroom We booked a Deluxe Oceanview (Category 2C) stateroom on Deck 6. While comfortable and adequate, we were surprised that the cabin was the smallest of the similar-category cabins of the three ships we'd been on. There was sufficient storage for all our gear, but we were very thankful to have packed light. Our cabin was configured with a queen-sized bed, and there was a chair (looked like a loveseat but not wide enough to seat two) that converted to a twin bed. Given the relatively small room size and storage areas, this cabin would be a real squeeze with more than two people. The size of the veranda was typical, as it had two patio chairs and a small table, making it perfect for enjoying breakfast, watching arrival or departure from port, or just relaxing. Because of the design of the ship, the decks with balcony cabins (decks 6-9) are recessed, so that the pool deck (deck 10) and the promenade deck (deck 4) and lower decks extend out above and below. The lifeboats hang from deck 5 and protrude out beyond the balconies, obstructing the view of the waterline. The pool deck above extends out beyond the balconies providing a certain amount of shade from the mid-day sun. This benefit would be greater the higher the deck, but the tradeoff is that the overhang would block the view of the sky from the higher decks. The balcony was the first we'd had that was faced with glass, which really enhanced the view from inside the cabin. The downside was that the glass was almost constantly covered with spray and condensation, so the view wasn't completely clear. The balconies were separated by translucent glass, which allowed for privacy while letting light in. Our cabin steward was Lazaro. He was very attentive to our needs and cheerfully went the extra mile to help us with anything we needed, such as a problem with my tux that was easily resolved with his assistance. He also delivered our room service breakfast right on time every morning. The Ship With her dark blue hull and the huge Celebrity 'X' on the funnel, the ship is unmistakable. I find it hard to call anything so huge 'pretty' but Millennium is certainly impressive from a distance. She's a large vessel, which is most apparent in port alongside other ships, both larger and smaller. Inside, I feel that Millennium lacks the 'Wow' factor of many of the newer ships that have huge multistory atrium areas and elevator lobbies. Upon entering the ship, my first impression was that we had walked into an alternate entrance, but it turned out we were in the right place. While Millennium does have a multistory atrium, the area is relatively small, and the sight lines do not contribute to the impression of the size of the space. Upon examination from other angles, such as from the decks above, it turned out to be a much nicer location than my initial impression had suggested. Overall, dEcor is elegant and somewhat understated, but very classy. Among the things we had looked forward to on Millennium were Words, the library, and Notes, the music listening lounge. Words had a nice selection of books, but it wasn't conducive to reading. It's a small area, there aren't a lot of seats and any amount of walkthrough traffic tended to be distracting. Notes had a wonderful selection of music, but in order to listen one had to turn their cruise card in at the Guest Relations desk on Deck 3 to get a set of headphones. This was highly inconvenient, as Notes is on Decks 6 & 7, and once you'd turned over your card you couldn't go back to your cabin or get a drink. We ended up not using either facility. Being a November cruise, the passengers were generally 40's and older, which was to be expected. I would think the mix would be a bit younger during the holidays and summertime. There were several young families with small children and they were very well behaved. We really liked the AquaSpa, and spent a good amount of our poolside time there. It was generally quiet, and the background noise from the pool equipment covered up conversations and provided for an overall relaxing environment. Chairs were generally available both in the AquaSpa and at the main pool, although predictably they were more at a premium on sea days. We were able to find suitable alternative quiet areas in the lounges, as they tended to be deserted during the day. Entertainment I have positive and negative comments in this area. The entertainment choices that were offered were excellent, but the variety and/or availability was lacking. Aboard Millennium was classical pianist Brooks Aehron, who did three excellent shows, the first time we'd heard of a classical pianist at sea. The production shows were very good, performed by the Celebrity Singers and Dancers and the Celebrity Orchestra. Prodigy provided the entertainment poolside. There were performers that we did not get to hear, as they only performed during dinner (late seating) and were finished or nearly so by the time dinner ended. These consisted of a pianist, a string quintet and a harpist. Pre-dinner music was limited to recorded big band music in Cosmos (the disco) and The Young Duo (a vocal/instrumental duo) in the Rendez-vous Lounge. While the duo was very good they played every night and their selection grew old after seven nights. After-dinner music was limited to The Young Duo (see above) and the disco. Since we are not fans of prerecorded dance music, disco in particular, we did not have much interest in Cosmos. Given the obvious level of musical talent on board and the apparent sophistication of the passengers, I was surprised that there was not more variety of musical choices. Several of the Celebrity Singers were excellent soloists, and a set or two in one of the lounges featuring their talents would have been a hit. The members of the Celebrity Orchestra could certainly have put together a couple of jazz or big band sets. Instead we got recorded big band music and seven nights of 'Guantanamera'. Dining I'm not a food expert, so I can't fully appreciate or evaluate Celebrity's claim to have top-notch cuisine. I can say that the food and service were very good and that we were very happy with the dining experience. We felt that the menu selections were good and were impressed with the variety. There were wonderful dessert choices with an emphasis on chocolate. We found ourselves at the Ocean Grill/Ocean Cafe (buffet) or the Island Grill (burgers, hot dogs and fries) for lunch most days. The Ocean Grill is typical buffet fare, not outstanding but very adequate. We did do the Olympic Restaurant and enjoyed it immensely. We felt that it was well worth the $25pp charge. A tip: the restaurant is divided into two rooms. The smaller room near the entrance is paneled with the fabled wood from the SS Olympic, the larger room is not. If the wood is important, ask to be seated there. We were and it only added to the experience. In any event the service and extra attention is outstanding. Too much detail here would take away from the reader's personal experience, but I highly recommend the Olympic Restaurant. We had room service breakfast each day, preferring to enjoy our coffee and tea on the balcony rather than fight the lines for runny eggs. We learned after a little trial and error to order the number of items desired rather than the number of servings. If you said you wanted two servings of danish you got two danish. If you asked for two servings of croissants you got two croissants. It was a little comical but we figured it out and finally managed to order the right quantity of food. One morning we got tea bags and no hot water, another day got the hot water but no tea bags. Both were quickly and easily resolved. One of the quirks of Celebrity is that there are certain, albeit short, times of the day when there is no food available anywhere. It's never more than thirty minutes or so, but you need to pay attention to the times listed in the Millennium Daily. Ports & Shore Excursions Millennium called on San Juan, Catalina Island, St Thomas and Nassau, with two days at sea. In San Juan we took the Bacardi Rum Factory tour. This tour included a tour of the city, which unfortunately had to be cut short because of the length of the wait for the rum factory tour. This seemed to be due to a general lack of organization on Bacardi's part rather than the fault of the tour company, as several groups arrived at once and they did not seem to have sufficient guide staff to handle the volume. By the time we got to the factory the workers appeared to be on break because all the equipment was shut down and everyone was standing around talking. Overall, I felt that because of the arrival and departure times (1:00-8:00) in San Juan the usable time in port was too limited because many of the shops started closing at 5:00. Those with early dinner seating lost a couple of hours of port time or had to either skip dinner on the ship or eat at the buffet or the Olympic. This is a beautiful city and I'd like to see more of it. Perhaps a future cruise will sail from San Juan and we'll be able to spend a day or two there pre or post-cruise. I believe Catalina Island to be typical of the cruise lines' private islands. The beaches are much too crowded for my taste and patience, the lines for lunch are too long, and besides the beach there's not much else to do or see besides shoo away mosquitoes and souvenir vendors. I went ashore long enough to take a few pictures of the Millennium anchored in the harbor, then went back to the ship for a nice lunch and a quiet swim in the pool. To each his own. We had been to St Thomas previously and didn't have a lot of shopping to do, so we poked around Havensight in the morning and took a cruise to St John in the afternoon. The weather was less than cooperative as it rained on the way there and was cloudy until just about time to come back. As a result we missed out on Trunk Bay's legendary white sand and deep blue water. Even when it's cloudy Trunk Bay is beautiful, someplace I want to go back to! We were treated to a spectacular post-storm sunset as we sailed away from St Thomas. This was our first visit to Nassau. Paradise Island and the Atlantis Resort are spectacular and the sight of the ships lined up at the pier was impressive. We took a tour of the city and of Paradise Island, spending a whopping 20 minutes at Atlantis. Nassau itself was interesting but not outstanding, but Atlantis is definitely a future to-do destination. Disembarkation Knowing that the entire list of passengers had to be cleared by immigration before we could begin to disembark prepared us for the worst. Instead we were pleasantly surprised. The immigration process started early, prior to 7:00, and disembarkation started about 9:00. We passed the time by having breakfast in the dining room, waiting for the parade of colored luggage tags to begin. Thankfully we were among the first groups to be called, shortly after 9:00. We left the ship, claimed our luggage and were on our way to the airport by 9:30. The airport was a mess and we were thankful to be there early with three hours before our flight, as we needed nearly every minute. An observation regarding our airport experience: While FLL airport was extremely crowded, as one would expect with the Sunday morning crush of cruise passengers, airline staff did an admirable job of making sure that everyone in line was able to make their flight. While it was aggravating to see people from behind us in line get escorted to the front, thus lengthening our delay, it was comforting to know that they would do the same for us should we still be in line as the time for our flight approached. They were also giving similar priority to those waiting in the separate line for security. Management personnel repeatedly walked along the line calling out flight numbers and taking those folks whose departures were imminent though a separate security checkpoint, thus ensuring that flights were not missed. I felt that it was very fair to everyone under the circumstances. Total time in the airport before arriving at our gate was about 2 ½ hours. Positives All in all this was a great cruise. Millennium is a lovely ship, we had delicious food and attended some wonderful shows. Our experience with the Olympic Restaurant was excellent and we'd love to have an opportunity to visit it again. This was only our third cruise, and we are looking forward to sampling more cruise lines, different ships and other destinations. Regrets Despite my best efforts to be balanced in my comments, some readers may feel that I'm being overly negative toward the ship and the cruise line. It was a great cruise, and while there was nothing that detracted from a great vacation, there were several noteworthy shortcomings. We noticed more ship motion on Millennium than any ship we have been on previously. While fairly gentle, the ship rocked quite a bit side-to-side despite what appeared to be calm seas. I remarked at one point that it felt like we were doing S-turns in the water. We heard numerous comments, some from cruisers more veteran than us, that the motion was at times excessive. Two gentlemen remarked at dinner one evening that they had been awakened the previous night by severe rocking. While I did not wake up in the night, I did have a headache and queasy stomach that morning. Be sure to pack the Bonine! For the formal nights I rented a tux through Cruiseline Formals. The tux was delivered to our stateroom on Monday. A minor mixup in jacket size was quickly remedied through the diligence of our cabin steward. While I've generally been pleased with the company and like the convenience of renting, I realize that I'm a difficult fit and have decided that I'll be a lot happier with the fit and quality if I take the plunge and buy my own tux for future cruises. I want to make it clear that my decision is not based on Cruiseline Formals, but rather on personal preference. Conclusion We had expected to come away from this cruise with Celebrity feeling that we'd found our match. While it was certainly a great experience, to my way of thinking it was in line with our previous experiences rather than the step above we'd anticipated. All in all it was a wonderful vacation. We were happy to have the chance to sail with Celebrity and on Millennium. We're on a bit of a quest to sample as many different lines and ships as we reasonably can, but we feel we'd definitely put Celebrity on our list of cruise lines to repeat on. We haven't yet done this enough to speak authoritatively, but I'd venture to say the experience was typical for the time of year and for a cruise on a mainstream line, with a great ship, outstanding service, plenty of activities and lots of fun.TomDills@carolina.rr.com Visit my website for photos: http://www.geocities.com/tomdills/index.htmlDecember 2001 Read Less
My husband and I just got back from the 4-20-03 Millennium cruise. One of the greatest things that happened was we meet people on the boards before hand so we had already started a relationship with them before we ever made it to the ship. ... Read More
My husband and I just got back from the 4-20-03 Millennium cruise. One of the greatest things that happened was we meet people on the boards before hand so we had already started a relationship with them before we ever made it to the ship. We hosted the sail away party and we had around 15 people show up. It was great. The Cruise Critic party had about 40 people and we were all lively. The cruise was wonderful the only down fall was so many children on board around 500. The parents would let them roam and they would get in the elevators and press all of the buttons, they would run around and do things that really shouldn't have been done. But they're kids and parents teach their kids. The boat was wonderful. We had room 8166 Family room. It was nice because we would sit at the pool in the early morning and then I could go to our room and sit on our verandah in peace and quite and still get sun. We had one day when we were at sea that the pool was just too crowded and we stayed on our veranda all day. We ate at the Olympic restaurant 2 nights. The first formal night we had a nice quite evening with just ourselves. It was a nice change of pace. The second night we ate with 5 other people and it was very enjoyable until the UN Ambassador came in and they sat them at 3 different tables and the waiters and staff were making sure that they were taken care of and then kind of leaving the paying customers to themselves. The food was great. The dining room was good I love shrimp cocktail and got it every night. Our waiter Ivo and assistant waiter Peter were excellent. Ivo would give us recommendations every night and always always brought extra desserts. We were seated beside the captain's table in the very back with a wonderful view out the windows no heads in the way when we would pull out of ports. The waitress in the Martini bar was wonderful and very friendly. I am not a Martini person but I did try the Green Apple, Waldorf and the Lime Martini. The best one was the Waldorf. We got a book on recipes for martinis so I will see what my husband can do. The Assistant Bar Manager Greg was a joy to talk with. He chatted with us one evening before dinner and it was really nice to learn about the life of ship personnel. Overall the cruise was wonderful even with the 500 children. I want to thank the Cruise Critic board for letting us meet the folks and really get to know folks. It really made a difference on this cruise which was our 4th Celebrity cruise to know a few people. You always enjoy things better when you make friends. Again Thank You. terrimonroe@mindspring.com July 2003 Read Less
This was our 14th cruise in the past four years and our second aboard Celebrity Lines.   In August 1999 we took a two-week Western European trip on the Century from Amsterdam, Holland and visited Belgium, France, Portugal, Spain, Morocco ... Read More
This was our 14th cruise in the past four years and our second aboard Celebrity Lines.   In August 1999 we took a two-week Western European trip on the Century from Amsterdam, Holland and visited Belgium, France, Portugal, Spain, Morocco and debarked in Genoa, Italy.   We had an excellent, restful cruise and looked forward to cruising again with Celebrity.   As this is being written, we have booked our next cruises on Royal Caribbean's new Radiance of the Seas in April ("The cruise to nowhere!") and Vision of the Seas in May to Alaska.   Our trip on the Century prepared us for what to expect on the Millennium and we were again pleased with great service and several unexpected surprises. FIRST IMPRESSIONS The Millennium is the first of four newly constructed "Millennium Class" ships which Celebrity planned for the early years of the new millennium.   She is 91,000 tons and 964.6 feet long and was inaugurated June 2000.   Celebrity Cruise Line enjoys an  excellent reputation for its cuisine, service and ships' conditions, received awards of excellence by travel magazines and rated in the top ten cruise lines.   We believe that these acknowledgments are well deserved.   The Celebrity ships are the navy blue and white ones with the distinctive X separating them easily from all others in port.   Being this new, the Millennium is shipshape in every way . . . we enjoy sailing on new ships because of their crispness and we can see them at their best, even though at times the crew is still learning its way around. EMBARKATION Embarkation was easy, since we are members of the Captain's Club, there was a special very short line.   This time we had a wheelchair and a steward assisted us and we were in our cabin in less than ten minutes. THE SHIP After sailing last December on the new CostaAtlantica (a floating art museum!), this ship was the exact opposite on the spectrum, almost devoid of decoration and art, with the exception of a few indecipherable "modern art" pieces here and there throughout the ship; not our preferred art style, anyway. However, the Millennium is simplicity and stark elegance.  The three deck high Grand Foyer has a beautifully lighted, gold onyx staircase which is excellent as a background for formal pictures.  This stair leads from the Customer Relations desk up to the Cova Cafe' di Milano, serving products made famous by the renown Italian Pastry and Chocolate Purveyor, which is located in Milan across from the La Scala Opera House. We felt the Millennium to be beautiful in a spartan way -- functional and uncluttered -- corridor decoration is limited to a very few black and white photographs, while stairways and foyers have whimsical plastic sculptures of surfers or swimmers etc.  The use of teakwood columns topped with simple chrome capitals throughout the entire ship, from the dining room to the outdoor pool and spa areas was a unifying motif and quite pleasant.  We were not impressed by the huge, odd sculptured head, situated in the Aqua Spa atrium, made up with many pieces of various types of marble; however, some cruisers seemed to like it, since they were photographing it from different angles.  This entire deck area was nicely equipped with teak deck chairs and teak shaded benches.  The water jets for the hydro-massages were nice and strong, but this spa was no match with the Thalassotherapy pool of the Century.  We spent some time there every morning, between the hours of 9:00-11:00; it was not as crowded as pool side -- and it was almost all ours! Don't miss the beautiful Cosmos Nightclub (Deck 11 at the bow) with its 270 degree view of the sea -- starkly decorated with light oak wood and blue/gold striped chairs and a polished metal dance floor.   This would be a lovely site for an onboard wedding with its surround windows.  Check out the statue of the oversized boy with binoculars looking out to sea. The Platinum Lounge (deck 5) is another very pretty room and again the emphasis is on simplicity with polished platinum discs combined with purple/white striped chairs and simple columns around a circular balcony looking down on the dance floor of the Rendez-Vous Lounge. THE CABIN Our Superior Ocean view, wheelchair accessible, Cabin #8176 with veranda, is located aft and is very spacious (538 sq. ft. including balcony). It has light oak paneling on all walls and is devoid of all decoration except for a signed lithograph.  Entering on the left, there is the huge bathroom with one sink, a mirror and two glass shelves on each side, a hair dryer nearby, a double shower with a curtain and shower seat, a commode, several safety rails and towel racks, but no rack near the sink, where you would expect one.  There are hooks on the bathroom door with two nice robes provided for use on board. This is a very large and adequate cabin, but more spartan than other cruise lines: no marble, fancy tiles or mosaics here.  Past the bathroom is the queen size bed with a green/beige striped padded headboard (anchored to the wall with a chrome drapery dowel) and matching bed ruffle.  Then there is a grey/green love seat and a small glass coffee table.  The aqua carpeting has a beige and pink confetti pattern and all three colors are combined in the bedspread and draperies.  It makes a nice and restful ambiance. Entering the cabin on the right is a mirrored wall in the foyer and then a triple wardrobe.  The first two doors have wooden hangers and the next door contains the safe and eight drawers -- next there is a console with a TV and the refrigerator with a fully stocked mini bar.  Finally, there is a desk/vanity with lighted mirror.   The far wall is a double panel sliding glass door to the veranda with the view of the wake of the ship.  Very nice! Usually we book a cabin mid ship, but this huge veranda (approx. 12' x 20', where at least five couples could do the Argentine Tango) tempted us, even though Vincent at this time couldn't dance, but could do the wheelies with his wheelchair.  Now, we are glad that we experienced the ship's aft cabin.  However, like everything in life, there is always a trade-off.  We found that maneuvering a wheelchair from the elevators all the way back was not easy.  The one inch door jambs at each firewall door were difficult to "jump" and the corridor is narrow so that at times, when luggage or equipment were there, we had to fold the chair and limp past the obstruction and then reopen the chair. The view from the stern of the ship was wonderful, though, and worth the inconvenience this once.  We also noticed that when the ship was going at full speed there was a greater rolling motion and a disturbing low frequency engine noise.  We are not sure if this inconvenience was due to the location of our cabin or to a possible problem that the Millennium is having with one of her engines (as the rumor goes).  From the form and size of the wake, we could see that the engine on the starboard side was definitely less powerful than the one on port side.  Could this have been the cause of the unexpected rolling motion of the ship and the noticeable humming noise of the engine in relatively calm seas? An improvement is expected after the dry dock repairs, scheduled for this ship the first two weeks of April.  When the ship was cruising slowly the sound of the wake behind the ship was like that of a mountain stream running through the rocks or down small rapids.  This sound was so  relaxing and conducive to meditation that Vincent spent long hours lounging on the veranda. SERVICE We found the service to be exceptional and up to their motto "Exceeding Expectations."  The Hotel Manager Dimitrios Anagnostou responded immediately, when we reported that there was a noise in the sliding door leading to the veranda, like that of a "knocking sound," during the first night at sea, when the rolling motion was more prevalent.  We informed the Guest Relations Desk in the morning and by the time we returned to our cabin at noon the problem was fixed.  It was a wonderfully quick and appreciated response!  The service is fast and courteous-- whenever we neared our cabin, if a steward was in sight, he would open our door for us with a smile.  We thought the crew was tip top.  More specifics about the wonderful dining room and alternative dining staff below. FOOD The welcome aboard buffet was inviting and well stocked; the trays had cloth place mats and there were waiters to carry trays to the tables, but usually this is the only meal we eat at the buffet.  Normally, we order breakfast in our cabin; it was punctual and even early at times.  The room service breakfast menu included fruit juices, coffee, tea and hot chocolate, omelets and scrambled eggs (the only way eggs were prepared for room service), bacon, sausage, ham, cold cereals, croissants, Danish pastries, toast and rolls, all abundant and fresh.  We had a fresh fruit basket in our room replenished daily by our steward, Agnelo, who also provided us with a pitcher of fresh orange juice daily; after we had asked the first day for one, we never had to ask again.  The water and ice in our cabin were purified and tasted excellent. Pizza was served from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Riviera Grill and 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. at the Ocean Cafe`.  Freshly made ice cream was served near the buffet on the pool deck daily.  We felt that there was food available at every hour including room service 24 hrs/day.  But we heard some people say that they would have liked something other than sandwiches when they returned from excursions.  They felt that the hours for the buffet, grill and pizzeria were too short when compared to the food service on other lines, especially Princess.  We were happy with Celebrity, but we have to agree that other lines, that we have cruised on, have longer hours for alternative food service. For example,  RCCL had pizza available from 11:00 a.m. to midnight, and on the Voyager and Explorer cookies, Danish, assorted small sandwiches, ice cream, coffee, and tea were available all day long on the Royal Promenade; in addition, these two gigaships have a characteristic American diner, Johnny Rockets, reminiscent of the '50s, where excellent hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, onion rings and milk shakes are served for most of the day.  Normally we had lunch and dinner in the Metropolitan Dining Room and they were always from good to excellent.  The menu was extensive and varied.  Michel Roux oversees Executive Chef Alain Doelen's menus and Monsieur Doelen gave a Culinary Demonstration of a Shrimp SautE Cote D'Azur in the Rendez-Vous Lounge, which was delicious.  We think the touch of Pernod was the unique ingredient to enhance the flavor of this dish. The Chef was both personable and knowledgeable.  He recognized us in the dining room and asked how we were enjoying our lunch and told the waiters to treat us with special attention. Remember, whenever you are not happy with an order, tell the waiters and they are more than happy to bring you something more to your liking.  We do, and thus have never experienced a bad meal aboard!  We actually wish we could order half portions, since invariably the portions are so large that we cannot finish them.  The waiters may think we don't like the food, but actually we are saving room for dessert! Our waiter Carlos Pineda, asst. waiter Alex Gomez, Sommelier Jerko Radic and Asst. Maitre d' Jose Macedo were all excellent and attentive.  We even met the Restaurant Manager Romuald Kordecki, whose charming manners impressed us favorably. These people go out of their way to please the diners. Thursday night we dined in the alternative restaurant the Olympic.  The Maitre d'Hotel Raffaele Bernardini runs this fabulous restaurant like a fine time piece.  Dinner here is by reservation only and there is a $25 cover charge per person.  Since many items are prepared table side, dinner can last, as ours did from 6:30 p.m. to 10:45 p.m., but you will enjoy one of the best dining experiences at sea!  It is more than worth the cost and the time; you may also admire the original paneling from the White Star Line's Ship the  RMS Olympic (which entered service in June 1911 and was the sister ship of the fabled Titanic).  Take a tour of the wine cellar with its wonderful old stories, mementoes and famous and unique wines.  On the tour Raffaele pointed out several special vintages: Chateau Margaux, 1924 for a mere $1,250 and not to mention the Chateau Petrus, 1949 for a few dollars more, $12,400.  We found that the Millennium has one of the finest selections of wine at sea. Vincent had Shrimp Flambe`, squisiti!  Mary had Saltimbocca alla Romana and it was wonderful.  Dessert was a perfect Chocolate SoufflE for Mary and  Zabaglione made especially for Vincent who stated that it was almost like his mother's -- a very high praise from him.  The service here is formal, but always smiling.  The waiters, dressed in tails, served our table of six in unison and with flourishes.  We thought nothing could top that night, but the next night we dined equally as well at the Captain's table as guests of Hotel Manager Dimitrios Anagnostou. We were met in the Platinum Lounge and were served cocktails and Dimitrios gallantly kissed the ladies' hands.  Vincent went down the elevator in his wheelchair, but the rest of us were escorted down the Grand Staircase and through the dining room to the Captain's table which is in front of a wall of windows overlooking the stern.  Usually from our table #544B, at the top of the stairs, we could see a pretty optical illusion: the reflection of the lavender rose window in that glass wall behind the table.  But the Captain's view is breathtaking: the blue glass back-lighted ceiling, the rose window and the lights were beautiful, especially when the lights were dimmed for the "Baked Alaska" parade.  Needless to say we enjoyed the lobster, the wine (especially the Greek red one selected by our host), the view and, most of all, the company.  Thank you Mr. Anagnostou. ENTERTAINMENT On board, the shows were top notch.  The second night we enjoyed the featured show, "Spectacle of Broadway," so much that we went to all three shows presented by the Celebrity Singers and Dancers.  The other shows were "Pure Platinum" and "Classique, A Musical Odyssey."  All of them were well staged, with great singing and dancing.  But we were most impressed with "Classique, A Musical Odyssey" where several operatic arias were performed with gusto.  Christopher Riggins, a graduate of Cincinnati's Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati (Mary's Alma Mater) did the Bearcats proud!  He got a standing ovation.  This young tenor is going places.  We met him later at a cocktail party for our group.  He is personable, handsome, talented and happy to practice his Italian with Vincent. PORTS OF CALL MONDAY: Key West, 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., take the Conch Train, and see the Hemingway house and Sloppy Joe's bar. TUESDAY: Calica, Mexico, 9:30 a.m. to 6:45 p.m., visit the ruins at Tulum or make it a day at the Xcaret park. WEDNESDAY: Cozumel, Mexico, 7:00 a.m. to 6:45 p.m.  go shopping or try the world's best snorkeling. FRIDAY: Georgetown, Grand Cayman,  see the reef pleasures and Stingray City, get close to the rays. DEBARKATION We had white tags and so were first to debark.  Cruisers were asked to go to deck three only when their color was called.  When they called white, the cabin steward assisted us as far as the Grand F oyer, then another crew member took us as far as the luggage pickup.   There were plenty of taxis and busses and all well organized.  We were met curb side by our daughter-in-law Paige and were on our way home by 9:00 a.m. -- no problem. SUGGESTIONS 1.  In general, anytime a cruiser has a problem, go to Guest Relations.  They can solve almost anything.  They are the Concierge on board. 2.  Celebrity should follow Princess, RCCL and Costa installing a one card scan system for security purposes: we did not like carrying a separate ID just to get back on the ship. 3.  We found the service pleasant and competent.  Some second seating passengers complained about their late dinners.  However, since we did not have any problem at first seating, we can only speculate as to the cause.  We have seen some people entering the dining room as late as a half  hour after dinner time during first seating.  This may have created delays for the second seating schedule.  People need to arrive for dinner on time; the staff serves over 9,000 meals daily, which is a mind boggling feat. It was a great cruise.  We made new friends and we'll look forward to cruising on Celebrity again. Happy Cruising! vnfinelli@mindspring.comFebruary 2001 Read Less
CAST OF CHARACTERS Two guys who live in Arlington, VA. Both "Made in America with Scottish Parts"  Rhett, 57, retired government worker. Enjoys fine dining, a sedate and relaxed atmosphere ... and roller coasters. Tom ... Read More
CAST OF CHARACTERS Two guys who live in Arlington, VA. Both "Made in America with Scottish Parts"  Rhett, 57, retired government worker. Enjoys fine dining, a sedate and relaxed atmosphere ... and roller coasters. Tom (me), 46, "simple computer geek", major theater buff and Men's Group Facilitator. I love new experiences. "LET'S TRY A CRUISE" The sailing of Celebrity's Millennium on November 4, 2001 was my first cruise and it will certainly not be my last. Rhett sailed on a Carnival cruise in 1986 and had always meant to do another, but never got around to it. He pretty much got hooked on going to Scotland every few years instead. I got the idea to cruise after our friend Larry's travel agent arranged a free tour of Holland America's Volendam last spring when I was visiting Fort Lauderdale. They presented what amounted to an infomercial for cruising, and their line in particular. We got to explore the ship a little, and were served a wonderful and very large lunch in the dining room. I was so impressed, I decided to further research cruises on the Internet and learned a lot about the different ships, and, thanks to reviews of the different cruises and lines, decided on what looked like the best choice for us: the Celebrity Millennium, taking an Eastern Caribbean route. Celebrity had the reputation for the best food and what the Millie offered that no other ship could was the Olympic Dining Room. More on that later. A very valuable source of information has been the Cruise Critic message boards and cruisereviews.com particularly the reviews written by Tom and Mary Milano, who provide the very best tips about cruising that I have seen about practically anything anywhere. I booked passage for the best outside room I could find without a veranda since I did not know what my habits would be around how much time I would actually be spending in my cabin. From the beginning, we were far less concerned about a ship's itinerary or ports of call than we were about being on the ship itself and enjoying that experience. Our TA had us wait-listed for late seating and when our documents showed up, we were actually listed for that seating but knew we would have to check once on board. We agreed that if we could not get that seating, we could go with it and not let it ruin our vacation. Rhett drove to Fort Lauderdale to spend a few days with Larry. I flew down Friday night to acclimate myself a little bit to the warmer weather and enjoy Fort Lauderdale, where I had visited a number of times before. Call it pre-relaxation; I don't do the relax thing very well. Rhett and I enjoy travel a great deal and always look to squeeze that as much out of a vacation as we could, and spending quality time with good buddies is definitely one of those joys. Lousy weather was predicted for Southern Florida for the days surrounding our embarkation, and we were determined not to let that stand in our way - "Just feed us" was becoming my only demand from the cruise experience. EMBARKATION We wanted to get to the ship EARLY, so another old buddy from Washington, Buzzy, offered to drive us to the ship on Sunday morning so that Larry could go to church. Somehow we stuffed our luggage into Buzzy's car and he drove us the few minutes it took to the pier. We drove along the A1A with a view of the ocean, which was turgid under the threat of the impending Hurricane Michelle. I can't say the sea was really angry, but it was definitely peeved. At about 10:30, we arrived at the pier and there were still quite a number of people waiting for their transportation who had just gotten off the ship. There was an interesting range of emotion expressed on all of their faces, considering they had just gone through the trauma of having to actually leave the ship. A porter took our larger suitcases and we entered the terminal. The entrance toward the ship indicated that boarding would begin at noon. I took some comfort in the fact that we were, in fact, RIGHT THERE, so I sat down and got out my Crossword Puzzle magazine, ready to jump up the minute we could get on board. We had only been there a minute when a woman from Celebrity came by and asked if we had filled out our documents (we had). She proceeded to take out all the relevant documents we would need from the folder and pointed out that we could actually board the ship! The Boarding Spirits had certainly granted me my most immediate wish! We never hit any really long lines and were moved on board fairly quickly, on the way obtaining an invitation to tour the Aqua Spa and a sheet letting us know what was open and available on the ship while waiting to sail. It is in this area, too, where people traveling with children could sign them up for the Children's Program. Here it was, around 11:15 and the ship was scheduled to sail at 5:00! Would we have anything to do with ourselves until then? Ohhhh, yes.... OUR INTRODUCTION TO THE SHIP One of the many valuable tips Tom and Mary offered is to make reservations for the alternative dining as soon as possible upon boarding, in this case the Olympic Restaurant. (OK, this was the reason we wanted to get there so ridiculously early). We actually walked into the Olympic, which was right off the atrium where we entered the ship, but were sent to the Rendez-Vous Lounge, one deck up to make our reservations. When we reached the place, the Maitre D's for the Olympic were on one side of the ship, and those for the Dining Room were on the other. The Olympic people had a sommelier "standing guard" so there would not be a crowd around the table, and each guest was treated rather individually upon making the reservation. We made our reservation for Thursday night of the cruise, when something unexpected happened: They asked if we wished to book a SECOND NIGHT. I found this unusual, as I had previously read somewhere that each cabin was only permitted one reservation per sailing, but we jumped at the chance anyway. This was most surprising to me as we were practically the first names entered in the appointment book. We figured if we didn't think the experience was all that, we could always cancel the second night. A longer line was forming to check on or change Dining Room assignments. Ours was verified (we had been unsure, remember?) that we got what we originally requested: Large table at late seating. One of the assistants filled out a card identical to the one we would later find in our cabin and we were on our way. A tip I can give to cruisers who are hell-bent on getting one seating over another: A young couple who was waiting in line with us did not get moved to the late seating per their wishes. We ran into them in the Rendez-Vous Lounge between seatings and they said they had absolutely the best tablemates and wouldn't dream of switching. They loved the food so much, too, that they said they couldn't wait for dinner the next night. We decided to check on our cabin, even though we were told that it might not be ready before 1:00 and it was not yet noon. We had cabin 6007 - far forward, port side. We were above the theater and had nothing directly above us. If you see pictures of the Millennium, you could spot this particular cabin. It is on the deck directly above the lifeboats, and is the most forward porthole on the port side. There are 3 other cabins on this deck with forward-looking portholes. We were able to leave our bags on a mat placed on the bed for that purpose and went off to further explore the ship. We really liked the simplicity and elegance of the dEcor: simple, elegant good taste -- the kind of taste I have to admit I wouldn't have if I had the money for it, but I loved it. We headed to the Ocean Grille, where a buffet lunch was being served. I had read about how staff members carried trays for passengers, but I had no idea they meant everyone -- I thought they would only do so for women and older people, but some very nice young people not only helped us find a table where we wanted, but went back to get us coffee and iced tea. I think I was halfway through my lunch when I realized I was sitting on top of a porthole looking straight down onto some workers doing something with the lifeboats. I had never had only a piece of glass, however thick, between me and the sea some ten floors down. By the time we ambled back to the cabin, first taking the tour of the spa area (too expensive), admiring the track on the Sports Deck and enjoying the Serenada String Quintet playing in the atrium, our bags were outside the cabin and we took them inside to unpack. We had EXACTLY the right number of hangers in the closet, just enough drawer space (I promise I won't bring quite as much stuff with me next time) and figured out how to use the safe. It was around this time we met our cabin steward, Frederick. Throughout the next week, we never once saw Frederick without a big smile on his face. If it was he bringing our coffee in the morning, seeing him was a great start to the day. And let me tell you, I'm not real tolerant of cheerfulness first thing in the morning. We had a little bit of time to play with our life jackets before the muster, and during the muster itself, found that a great time to check out the Celebrity Theater, right below our cabin. We had a seat we would never willingly take during an actual performance (unless we had to), and could see how really great the sight lines were in this performance space. When the muster was completed, it was announced that due to inclement weather, the castoff party would be held in the Cosmos Nightclub on Level 11. So much for the sun-drenched poolside cast-off by the pool I had dreamed of. We moved from our muster on Level 4, ditched the life jackets on Level 6 (in the cabin, don't get excited) and proceeded straight up the forward staircase, surrounded by a great many people still with their life jackets. We got into Cosmos and were practically the first people there -- no, we didn't run. We took two chairs at the far forward port side of the room; they were already pointed right at the window. You would think we had called "Shotgun" for the whole ship. Of course, the ship didn't even move for quite a while, but we managed a Bahama Mama and were well into another before we were pointed out of the Port. If you ever get to sail out of Port Everglades, be sure to keep an eye out on the port side of the ship -- there are a bunch of people who live in some of the high rises along there who flash lights and wave -- I can't help but wonder if the shipping lines hire them to add a bit of "Bon Voyage" to the cast-off, or if they just happen to like ships. METROPOLITAN RESTAURANT: LATE SEATING, TABLE 516 By the time of our 8:30 seating for dinner, we were quite ready for it, and made our way to Table 516, upstairs starboard not quite overlooking the lower floor. We had a table for 8 and were quite pleased with our tablemates. Of 8 of us, we had 5 men, 3 women, of which 4 were retired; 4 Floridians (who were all formerly from Connecticut), 2 Virginians (us), a New Yorker and a Californian (these two charming young people having a bi-coastal romance), and we were half-and-half first time and experienced cruisers. By the end of the cruise we were a family, commenting on each other's eating habits, and every day showing any purchases we made and relating shipboard and port adventures. Our waiter was Radu, our busboy Peter, both from Romania. Our Maitre D' was Roberto from Columbia, who stopped by and chatted with us every night. If I have a complaint about anything about our dining experience, I think the table we had could have been a couple of inches larger in diameter. Sometimes the dishes seemed a bit crowded. We ate here 5 of the 7 nights, the other 2 being at the Olympic Restaurant. Here in the Metropolitan Restaurant, the food was great, and I never felt like I over-ate, having lost 18 lbs prior to cruising. My favorites were the mushroom appetizer the first night, and probably the best filet mignon I have ever tasted. Nothing wrong with anything else we got; these were the best. During the week, we had breakfast in the Metropolitan Restaurant most mornings. Their menu was a bit better than what was offered at the Ocean Grille. It was a great opportunity not only for a greater variety of food, but a chance to meet other passengers you might not get to do so otherwise. I always enjoy finding someone else to say hello to when given a chance -- they might become a drinking buddy or dance partner later. CELEBRITY THEATER We attended the welcome show right after dinner our first night. It consisted of the Cruise Director, Eric Bohus, introducing members of the staff, many of whom had some welcoming words and an introduction to the Celebrity Singers and Dancers as well as the headliner for the evening, juggler Thien Fu, billed as "Action Comedy". Being great theatergoers, we attended the Theater every night except the time Thien Fu repeated his show. Not that we didn't like him, but he appeared to be one of those performers that once you've seen him... We really enjoyed the other entertainment: Brooks Ahrens, a pianist, who performed Monday night and for the farewell show, and the Celebrity Singers and Dancers. They headlined three shows: a Broadway revue with many of the standard Grease/Les Miz/Phantom medleys that are standard fare in theme parks; "Pure Platinum", which displayed a wider range of music from jitterbug to Country/Western to Elton John (I still have nightmares about some of the Elton John-inspired costumes); and "Classique", a show that almost defies description. It was in the latter show that an operatic aria suddenly turned into "Riverdance" -- I loved it. The Singers were certainly up to any vocal demands, and I have to appreciate the wide range and number of routines the dancers have to keep track of -- Broadway-style jazz, tap, ballet, Riverdance, rock, Country. Being a former chorus dancer myself, I could spot some of the tiny missteps that are part of most routines, but I doubt most other people could. The theater itself is very much state of the art in the facilities and use of spectacle. I really appreciated how they varied the show times so that the people with late seating for dinner could go to the show before, so we weren't always sitting through the show on a full stomach and dropping off, which I admit happened a few times to me. FORTUNES CASINO I had a real fascination with the casino, only having been in one very briefly once. Very soon after cast-off, they held a little tutorial session on the table games and I went to the Craps Table to learn about that one. The instruction was not very good beyond the very basics; it was one of those games you really have to watch an actual game to learn anything about. I played Roulette and did pretty well on my first twenty dollars, but gambled away the winnings. I had a certain amount budgeted for gambling. The first night I won quite a bit, which I lost the second night. That night I lost I wasn't really playing with real money, I figured: I still had my first 2 nights' allotment. I figured I kept pretty much winning and losing the same $50 all week, coming out ahead enough, I decided, to pay for my sunscreen and photo development. I actually spent about 2 days worth of my budget through the whole week. I was pretty impressed with the large amounts of money I saw some people winning or at least passing from hand to hand. One man won $600 on a quarter slot machine, then while he was waiting for the management to come back with the paperwork, stuck a quarter in another machine and won another $3,000. I was pretty impressed with myself if I won $50. Keep in mind, of course, that more people lose in the casino than win. They tend not to attract very much attention. OLYMPIC RESTAURANT Let me just tell any future Millennium cruisers: the Olympic is worth anything you would pay for it. You pay $25 up front per person, which pretty much goes for tips for the evening. The prospective diner is informed that this dining experience can last up to 3 hours, so don't plan anything REAL definite the rest of the evening. Before any food comes (in our case, while having a nice pre-dinner champagne), you order an appetizer, a main course and a dessert. There is also a cheese course, which is not ordered in advance. They describe the many cheeses and the diner picks a few. On Tuesday night, we had the justifiably much-praised Goat Cheese SoufflE, Saltimboca alla Romana (veal) and Chocolate SoufflE. We had the recommended wines that went with each course, port with the cheese, and with dessert we had Chambord, which goes GREAT with ANYTHING chocolate. We ordered nothing that was prepared tableside, and we were out of there in two and a half hours. Thursday night we wore our kilts to the Olympic and I don't know if it was because we were dressed so or because we were "repeat" customers, but we really felt like all the attention of the staff was on us and us alone. This was even with a wedding party in the restaurant, and other repeaters we remembered from the first night. We decided rather quickly on quail for an appetizer and the sea bass for entrEe, but had major headaches deciding between the Waldorf Pudding and Crepes Suzette for deserts, so we asked the headwater, "If you ordered what we did for starters and main course, which of the two would you choose for dessert?" He shrugged and said, "Let me do something special for you." Would you believe we got BOTH? Now, I KNOW they don't do this for everyone. We felt VERY special. George, the sommelier from Transylvania, finished the evening by giving us a tour of the wine cellar, where he very proudly showed off some of the tools of the trade which were from the White Star Olympic and some of the very special wines and magnums of champagne that one could have for THOUSANDS of dollars. Also, this evening 2 of the other 3 couples from Table 516 in the Metropolitan were at the Olympic as well; we found out that the one couple were given some very special attention by Radu and Peter, which they hadn't been expecting, either. I think this really cemented a bond between us all on Friday: we regaled them with Olympic stories, they bragged about all the "extras" they got as "orphans". Nobody ever seems to post anything like this, but here goes: The first night we walked out of the Olympic with a $127 bar bill; the second night it was $150. It was worth EVERY penny. The Olympic is an experience you would never get on land. In a similar restaurant in any major city, we figured the cost would be at least $300-$500. Easily. MONDAY: DAY AT SEA I I think all reviews of cruises made in the Caribbean the first week of November 2001 will go on at length about Hurricane Michelle. We were on the fringes of that one for about 24+ hours. Well, that was my first ever day at sea. "You mean it's not always like this?" I asked more experienced cruisers. My first night sleeping on a ship was like trying to sleep in a roller coaster. When I got up in the morning, I was feeling a bit queasy and took some Dramamine, which came right up. I had to get out of the cabin and got onto a deck chair near the pool behind the bin where you put your used towels -- just a place where I could get some air and not see the horizon jumping up and down. After about 45 minutes, I was fine. I decided it must have been a bit of a hangover and not seasickness at all; I was fine after that and the ship really pitched all day. People were sacked out in some of the lounges and there were many empty seats in the dining room and theater that night -- in fact, they postponed the Broadway Revue that had been scheduled for that night for the safety of the dancers. Many people were saying this was the worst they had ever seen it on a cruise. Our cabin steward, Frederick, said that this was his first time being sick in 5 years at sea. On the other side of our deck, water was coming in through some of the balconies. At one point in the afternoon, a huge wave hit the bow. I was on a Stairmaster in the gym facing it -- Rhett was directly over me in Cosmos and saw it -- keep in mind that Cosmos is on the 11th deck. (11th floor). This was the first formal night and Rhett and I appeared at the Captain's Party in our kilts. A large number of people had their pictures taken with us, and if anyone who is reading this review has any, I would love a copy. Quite a large number of the men were wearing tuxes and the women were dressed to kill! We wore the kilts again on Thursday for our second night in the Olympic, only with regular shirts and ties, not the formal stuff. TUESDAY -- SAN JUAN We were glad to get onto dry land after about 40 hours of continuously being tossed about. The complete toll on the Millennium's scheduled itinerary (many ships' schedules were very screwed up that week) was that we were an hour late getting into San Juan. We took a walk up to the Fort, which was a surprisingly short uphill walk, and had a quick beer at a little place called "Cafe Berlin", which is the name of one of our favorite restaurants here in Washington, DC. We didn't spend much time here because we wanted to rest a little before our first Olympic dinner and I wanted to try the pool while there was nobody in it. We would like to see more of San Juan; maybe even spend a few days here before boarding another cruise ship on our way somewhere else. I found some postcards of the World Trade Center in a little souvenir shop in the terminal. Odd place to find something like that. WEDNESDAY -- CATALINA ISLAND Very little is written about this place: it is as close as Celebrity comes to having a private island and is quite delightful. Our beach experience usually encompasses a full day and no shade. We tendered out to the island after the first wave went, and had to walk quite far down the boardwalk before we found any beach chairs we could use. We could have had seats right next to the band, Prodigy, but didn't want the noise as much as we enjoyed their music. The chairs we found were under a small grove of trees, and it was almost like having a semi-private room. After a few hours of just relaxing, having a drink or two and a swim in some of the most refreshing water ever, we hit the (very long) buffet line and enjoyed our lunch. The weather itself was not too promising, so we headed back to the ship to relax. I sauna-ed and had a latte at Cova Cafe Milano (while Melanie played her harp), almost forgetting that there were others on the ship at all. THURSDAY -- ST. THOMAS The morning we got to St. Thomas we had to report to the Celebrity Theater at an appointed time (ours was 7:30; some were as early as 7) to go through immigration. We were informed the night before that all passengers had to do this before ANYONE could get off the ship whether they wanted to get off or not. I think more people complained about having to go through this procedure than anything else I came across on the whole cruise. There was even a wedding party that appeared fully dressed, and I thought they looked a bit strange later going through the buffet line in the Ocean Grille dressed like that. Of course, there was ONE cabin which held everyone up by not reporting for a while. That seems to be the rule rather than the exception for every cruise arriving in St. Thomas since 9/11. I had read on the boards about all the things people managed to do on one visit to St. Thomas, and could not understand how so much could be crammed into one day, but it was rather easy and not rushed at all. We took a taxi to Megan's Bay, which is a beautiful beach and relatively close to the ship (well, we didn't ferry to St. John's anyway). I had read numerous times that this beach gets very crowded, but we were among the first to get there and only planned on staying until lunch anyway. The water was a bit rough, but extremely refreshing, and the sun wasn't very bright. We left, as planned, around lunchtime when the beach was getting more crowded, and had lunch in Charlotte Amalie at a restaurant called Herve, our only meal off the ship all week. My first conch fritters! Rhett was looking for a very specific glass to replace one from a Waterford set, and got some help in Little Switzerland. We did a little more shopping at the Havensight Mall closer to the ship, where I bought a beautiful sapphire and diamond ring and Movado watch, right after we had commented to each other about how little money we were actually spending on this vacation. We also had time for a leisurely trip to Paradise Point. After dinner in the Olympic, I wandered up to the Tex/Mex night on the Pool Deck. Still in my kilt, I took part in a line dance and found the ship's videographer pointing his camera at me for quite some time. Tried to ignore it, but I knew that video would show up SOMEWHERE in my life again. After dinner at the Olympic, I was stuffed and couldn't bring myself to eat anything from the great-looking buffets. Okay, ONE egg-roll. FRIDAY -- A REAL DAY AT SEA I refer to Friday as a real day at sea because the weather was great and we could use the pools and this was the kind of weather one dreams of when thinking of a Caribbean cruise. On the previous day at sea, we were even asked to stay indoors for a large chunk of the day. I managed about an hour by the pool in the afternoon and had no trouble finding a deck chair. There didn't seem to be much of any saving and there was always a stack of chairs on the upper deck that were not in use if you couldn't find as many as you wanted right by the pool. Rhett won the door prize at Bingo today -- we got boutonnières for that evening's formal night, where we just wore "ordinary" jackets and ties. While I was at the pool, Rhett enjoyed a concert of classical piano by Brooks Ahrens. This was also the night of the Grand Buffet. The Dining Room opened for about a half hour just for people to take pictures, and that was when I had a look at the amazing artistry of the food. It was so soon after a delicious dinner that I had no intention of eating anything. The line for people to actually go in and eat was much shorter than the one for people taking pictures. I was way ahead at the crap table anyway. SATURDAY - NASSAU My least favorite of the ports. It was really interesting watching from the ship as it came into port; and someone from another ship said it was fascinating watching the Millie pull in and turn around. We only went into town for a few minutes, there were a lot of closed buildings and very aggressive locals offering taxis, hair braiding, Cuban cigars, and numerous other kinds of merchandise and services. We headed right back to the ship for a quick lunch before heading off to our only shore excursion: a boat to Blackbeard's Cay, a small private beach island. Very cheap ($21) and included a small rum punch; when you buy another one, it's much larger. Here the sun was bright, there were plenty of beach chairs, very nice Calypso music, and they had a limbo contest, which was won by a young lady who I swear was made of rubber. The water here was absolutely clear, as I had never seen it before. I would recommend this excursion if you just want to get away from the crowds for a short time. That night at dinner, we were all getting very sad about having to leave. The Serenada String Quintet played and got well-deserved standing ovations and applause for their last two numbers. We saw Brooks Ahrens do the final show and really enjoyed the cruise video. Shame it isn't available for sale -- there I was doing a country/western line dance in my kilt! That night, after most things closed, I was all packed and the bags were in the hall and did something I had neglected to do all week -- went far forward on the highest deck and looked at the best show anywhere -- the stars! Who knew there were so many of them? I wish we had them like that in my neighborhood. SUNDAY - DISEMBARKATIONDo things get lax the final morning so you don't mind leaving? I felt the final movement of the ship while slowly waking up. The shower temperature varied all over the place and I couldn't control it -- which hadn't happened before. At breakfast in the Metropolitan Restaurant, I was served hash browns with my poached eggs instead of corned beef hash. We collected our carry-ons and went up to the pool deck to wait for our number to be called. While there, groups of acquaintances who we now refer to as friends passed by and we had some final good-byes we had not counted on. Finally, the dreaded calling of our color came and we left. In the collecting place, most of the others with our color had been through, so finding 3 of our 4 bags was not too difficult. Tom and Mary Milano recommended tying colorful bows on your luggage handles to make them stand out for debarkation and it worked -- otherwise I might never have found the last bag in THE WRONG COLOR AREA! If it weren't for the Milanos, I might still be looking for it. Larry picked us up, we had lunch, I flew home ... I missed everything about the cruise. But I have to admit, I liked the movement my bed was making for a few nights after getting home. And I have stopped folding the toilet paper as Frederick did for us...he even folded the top tissue in the box, which I had never seen done before; I don't do that. POSTSCRIPT -- MY FELLOW PASSENGERS I chose the date for this cruise because it was "off season". Our ship was FULL. The age range was very large, but I can't say there were mostly older people or mostly younger people; probably as even a variation as you can imagine. The first night, the Cruise Director said there were 128 children between the ages of 3 and 17 on board. For the most part, I didn't see children unsupervised during the cruise, although a few people I talked to said otherwise. I saw the children in the Children's Program having snacks in the Ocean Grille a few times, and a group of the smallest children dressed as pirates having a treasure hunt with the wranglers on a sea day (it was CUTE!). There seemed a great many of smaller ones (under 3) on board with some of the largest strollers you ever saw. No further comments. Early in the cruise, I met up with some of the habitues of the message boards and we hung together a bit, mostly for bingo. Again, it was people with whom you could stop and talk whenever you ran into them, or could join at the pool or for a drink. Shout outs right now to Sue and Warren, Toto and Pudgey, Janice and John and the Rocsters. Meeting these fine folks really made the cruise, and I would really consider any ship I knew these folks might be on in the future, although I know I'd never come away from a cruise without a few new buddies. MY NEXT CRUISE A month later, I think of little else. I don't have the kind of time at my disposal a lot of retirees might have for another 7 day cruise very soon, so I am looking into a shorter, long-weekend cruise on Carnival or Royal Caribbean before the winter is over. I know it will be a different kind of experience than I had on Celebrity, which really did exceed my expectations, but I want to try them all. My first cruise is going to be tough to beat. But I'm looking forward to trying to do so. I'll close with a Scottish blessing as a gift for those who have made it through this whole review: May your coffin be made from the wood of the 100-year old tree which I shall plant tomorrow. StagofLife@aol.comDecember 2001 Read Less
As with every cruise, we started with the embarkation, but unlike every other cruise, this one was a delight. Not just smooth, but pleasant. We were greeted by smiling and helpful people every where. One gentleman came over and ... Read More
As with every cruise, we started with the embarkation, but unlike every other cruise, this one was a delight. Not just smooth, but pleasant. We were greeted by smiling and helpful people every where. One gentleman came over and actually helped us fill out our forms. We then passed right through to the boarding agent and were onboard seemingly within minutes. Champagne and more warm greetings awaited us on the ship. We were on by 11:30am. The rooms were not ready until 1 pm, as you would expect, but that was not an inconvenience for us, we just had more champagne (free) and toured the 91,000 ton Millennium. My wife always heads to the spa first. If you get there early, you can get a free treatment as long as you don't mind being the demo for the other first day passengers. Debbie got a free scalp and facial. We later booked a massage, always try to pick a sea day, and were so impressed by our Spanish masseuse, Pilar, that we booked a second one for our last sea day. We don't recommend the rasul mud room on the Millennium. It is smaller and less pleasant than the Century class ships. The same can be said for the Aqua Spa. The Millennium class ships are not as private. There is something to be said for a small charge and a smaller spa. The rules against children in these areas needs to be enforced more aggressively. We made the mistake of taking a holiday cruise and we ended up with 400 kids, but I must say that after the first day of unbridled exploration, the hoards did die down. Celebrity kept them busy. Service, rooms, food, etc., were all up to Celebrity standards. This was our fourth cruise with them and our seventh overall. Stay away from balcony rooms next to the Celebrity suites unless you like to gaze into your neighbor's window via a cutoff balcony corner. The entertainment has improved over the years. The dancers and singers were excellent and the three tiered theatre was stunning. We especially enjoyed Nassau. Everyone had always told us that it was dirty, but we found it to be one of the nicer stops. Excellent shopping areas. The private Catalina Island was another favorite. We took fee dance lessons everyday with a charming girl named Gina. She was the best dancer on the ship and we had her for lessons. She was outstanding in the theatre and as a teacher. I could write all day about this wonderful experience. Our disembarkation was equally smooth and we were off the ship and in a cab on our way to the airport again within minutes, absolutely incredible! We highly recommend it. Ctelrap@aol.com April, 2003 Read Less
We sailed the Millenium October 21, 2001 and I have to say that it was a marvelous voyage in spite of my getting a severe cold the second day out and remaining ill until I returned home. My husband is suffering from cancer and he had badly ... Read More
We sailed the Millenium October 21, 2001 and I have to say that it was a marvelous voyage in spite of my getting a severe cold the second day out and remaining ill until I returned home. My husband is suffering from cancer and he had badly wanted to take this cruise and so it was arranged. Three of our children with their families accompanied us. All our adult children had a great time, visiting the various ports and enjoying the entertainment and dancing in the evenings. There were two young children (4 and 3) with us and they had a delightful time in the children's area where they were entertained and watched during the days, with times out for their parents to take them to lunch and dinner and on formal nights, to stay with the sitters in the play area. My husband, who has had a difficult time trying to eat (nothing tastes good to him as a result of the chemo he is taking), was treated extremely well by our waiter, who tended to him so carefully, helping him pick out things he thought he might be able to eat, and returning with something new if the first item didn't work. He gained weight on this cruise, the first weight he has gained since becoming ill last Spring. My oldest daughter and I were taken with quite severe colds and had to visit the doctor while on board. The medical personnel and facilities were extremely good for a cruise ship, I felt, although I have never had to avail myself of such on any other cruise we have taken. They took care of our medical needs and were quite concerned with our wellbeing, which was much appreciated by both of us. The ship is gorgeous and the rocking of the ship was gentle, even the last night when we heard after disembarking that the waves the previous night had been quite high. We were located on the 8th deck mid-ships with a balcony, close to the library and the elevator. We enjoyed the library, where they had a daily contest which was quite interesting and we found good books to read as we recovered from our colds. MBR Read Less
Having been on over 60 cruises, I feel somewhat qualified to review my latest cruise. "The Millenium"---10 days of madness. My first impression with the boarding procedure at Ft. Lauderdale should have given me a hint of ... Read More
Having been on over 60 cruises, I feel somewhat qualified to review my latest cruise. "The Millenium"---10 days of madness. My first impression with the boarding procedure at Ft. Lauderdale should have given me a hint of what was to come. It was cumbersome, and perhaps there was a system, but it wasn't apparent. Waiting--Waiting-Waiting. Once aboard the ship and into our cabin which was adequate, we ventured to a late lunch. Lines-Lines-Lines. This, also should have given me some hint of what was to come. Later, much later-our luggage arrived. There is adequate storage space. A plus. The first night for dinner which was at 6PM should have also given me a hint of what was to come. People were actually waiting in line at 5:30PM for the dining room doors to open. Why? Who knows, inasmuch as tables were pre assigned. Dinner service and quality were good. But, then on to the show. Again, lines waiting to get in. Actually, we dawdled a bit and paid for it. Not a seat left for the show. So, we missed it entirely. Next morning--breakfast in the upstairs cafeteria.--Lines, continually from 7AM until ??. Also, after getting your food, trying to find a table was another struggle. One of the waiters finally had to ask another couple if we could share a table with them. We found that the lines for every function were the same. If you wanted to see the nightly show, you had to arrive at least 30 minutes early. The deck lounge chairs were all taken by 9:00AM. Despite the rule, that you could not save any, many of the guest just spread towels on as many as they could to accomodate their friends. Some of these chairs weren't occupied at all, but there was no one to oversee this. It seemed that for anything you wished to participate in, there were lines. At any reasonable time, you couldn't get into the exercise room.--Crowded. The scheduled activities were a disaster and the activities staff were either not available or not enthusiastic. Example, the table tennis tournament had to be called off in mid tournament. It seems all the balls had gone overboard during play and there weren't any replacements. The so-called golf pro wasn't there during his scheduled times. On and On. It apprears that the ship which holds over 1900 passengers has some serious problems with their procedures and people handling systems. My personal thoughts are that there are many areas of the ship which are underutilized and obviously others overeutilized. The real disaster was the disembarkation. A complete and total mess. They didn't disembark any passengers until all the luggage had been unloaded and sorted out by color. And, supposedly, this was done. We came to the ship originally by car and used the terminal's parking garage. Well, the arrival dock was over a mile from the parking garage. They were supposed to have shuttle busses to take you to get your car. Hah! None around. So, a walk to the garage (and in the rain). In the mean time, our fellow passengers were waiting for other means of transportation. A total mess. Busses, Cabs, Cars all jammed in. I've been in less of a traffic jam in New York City at high noon. I finally got my car out of the parking garage and drove for about 2 blocks before encountering this traffic jam. Busses for airlines, rental cars, you name it. Cabs, police cars, trucks, whatever, all in line to pick up passengers and their luggage. I stayed in that line for 1-1/2 hours before I could even get close. And then only with some maneuvering and cutting cars off did I finally get to meet my wife and friends to get the luggage. By this time, I was a basket case and so were they. I have travelled throughout the world. Been on over 60 cruises with every cruise line and never never encountered anything even approaching this disaster. Not only was the cruise ship a disaster, starting with embarkation, stadning in lines on the ship, but the last straw was disembarkation. Never, Millenium, never again.NINIRAM@aol.comJune 2002 Read Less
My wife & I went on the first cruise and we have the following comments: 1. The food was ok, but not great. The Olympic Dining room is great and sign up for that asap. 2. DO NOT BOOK A CABIN ON THE 9th floor. Everyone there moved ... Read More
My wife & I went on the first cruise and we have the following comments: 1. The food was ok, but not great. The Olympic Dining room is great and sign up for that asap. 2. DO NOT BOOK A CABIN ON THE 9th floor. Everyone there moved because the insulation is so poor that they sit under the kitchen and you hear the clean up for the midnight buffet until 2 am. 3. Our phone in the room never worked and couldn't be repaired. 4. The ship vibrates on when you are leaving or entering a port. 5. The service is excellent. 6. The tour to Berlin is nice but you only get 2 hours in the am and 2 hours after lunch. However, it is a whirlwind and worth it. Read Less
This was our second Celebrity cruise and what a difference from the first one. Horizon had been decidedly unimpressive and we were not sure if we would take another Celebrity cruise but the Mille is a whole other story. The service on ... Read More
This was our second Celebrity cruise and what a difference from the first one. Horizon had been decidedly unimpressive and we were not sure if we would take another Celebrity cruise but the Mille is a whole other story. The service on Mille is the most outstanding we have ever experienced. The dining room staff all went out of their way to make our experience unforgettable. Our waitress Violaine (recently of Renaissance) was charming, professional and a concerned menu guide. The Asst. Maitre d' got us anything we wanted, even if it wasn't on the menu. Unfortunately, the food was not up to the standard of the staff. We were told that, in order to prevent any chance of food-borne illness, the meats, etc., were being overcooked. Tough and bland are the best I can say. The desserts, breads and other baked goods were delicious. What can I say? I certainly didn't want to get sick! The superior service extended to the buffet staff, the pool staff, the gym staff and the room steward. We were pampered and catered to. The ship itself is not visually exciting, but it is very, very clean and comfortable. It is also well-laid out and easy to find your way around. There are plenty of elevators and we experienced few waits to get on. The gym was not crowded and is well-maintained and has attendants at all times. We especially liked the hydrotherapy bubble pool which is under a dome and adults only. This pool is open till 11 PM, but the hot tubs next to them close earlier. I can't see the logic here. As for the new "upgrades," they are a mixed batch. We could have done without the champagne on boarding. That is a time when your primary urge is to get to your room and get comfortable. A better time for the champagne would have been a toast at the first dinner. The healthy dining option at the hydrotherapy pool was very nice. The food was good and imaginative and helped relieve that overstuffed feeling cruise passengers often get. We liked the policy of unobtrusive bar staff. On some ships, they constantly annoy passengers, but here they were available when wanted, but low-key. We didn't get any of the iced towels, but our friends did and appreciated them. I really liked being able to go to the library at any time during the day and the librarian was friendly and helpful. We didn't make use of some of the other amenities--I didn't see anyone being offered or getting a poolside massage--but I am sure other passengers did. Celebrity is on the right track here. About tipping: I wish they would stop leaving an envelope for the Chief Housekeeper. No one I spoke to planned to leave anything for this person. I told my room steward that I was not tipping the Chief Housekeeper, nor was I tipping the ship's Master, or the engine room crew. This is ridiculous; no other line expects you to tip an officer. Sofron@aol.com May, 2003 Read Less
The four of us traveling were my Mom and Step Dad (who had sailed once on HAL), my boyfriend, (who had sailed Princess three times and NCL once), and myself (I had sailed Celebrity once, Princess four times, and NCL twice). We booked ... Read More
The four of us traveling were my Mom and Step Dad (who had sailed once on HAL), my boyfriend, (who had sailed Princess three times and NCL once), and myself (I had sailed Celebrity once, Princess four times, and NCL twice). We booked two category 2B balcony cabins, on deck 7 (our first balconies). CRUISE CRITIC PARTY Our huge thread of people agreed to meet at 2 p.m. on the first sea day in the Platinum Club. I think that MidtheNight sent enough emails to Celebrity to attract some attention. We were all very pleasantly surprised to find that Celebrity catered our get together with small snacks and free drinks! I think we had at least 40 people show up. It was a really nice time. I got to meet everyone who had signed up for the St. Lucia Yacht Charter, and even added a couple more people. PRE-CRUISE/FT. LAUDERDALE We arrived from our red-eye flight at 8 a.m. the day before. I had gotten the Renaissance on Priceline ($50/night) and we took their complimentary shuttle to the hotel. It is perfectly located. It is half way between the Embassy Suites and the Hyatt, with a partial view of the ships in port. The rooms are great, the beds very comfortable. Although the hotel is very new, the front desk was completely inept. They were very unorganized. We had dinner at the Bimini Boatyard (in the same block at the hotel). It was very good. Their early bird special is $15 until 6:30 p.m. - which includes soup or salad, entrEe, and dessert. Definitely recommend Bimini Boatyard. EMBARKATION Our opinion is that the entire process was unorganized. It was far from smooth and fast. People were sent in wrong directions, it was crowded, different directions from different people, etc. My Captain's Club membership was of no use. We spent the same 45 minutes in a confused line for security as everyone else. After going through security, there was no Captain's Club check in line - it was "closed". Fortunately, the lines were short at that point. Half of our party (as well as many other people) did not have a cabin key card....They were given a slip of paper to get onboard, which meant they had to go get one later at Guest Relations. We arrived at the pier at 11:30 and we were onboard in about 45 minutes to an hour. As we boarded, they mentioned we needed to go to Deck 3 to get those missing cards. However, no one directed us to our cabins, an elevator, or anything. We had to find it on our own. CABIN The cabin layout was exactly the same as I remembered from my cruise on Mercury. We were very happy with it. Great storage space, well designed bathroom, nicely furnished, with a great balcony (which was larger than normal -- just as it appeared on the diagram). We had no complaints with our cabins (7177 and 7180). The only sign of wear was the bottom of the sliding glass door curtain was tattered, and the tile in the bathroom and shower had dirty grout. We were very happy with the cabins, as well as the location - adjacent to the rear set of elevators. We did find that noise carries very easily from balcony to balcony, and whatever was going on above us or around us could be heard on our balcony or in our cabin - especially when it was inconsiderate neighbors at 3:00 a.m. The air conditioning was adequate. It was cool enough during the day, but never quite cool enough during the night time. We couldn't leave the balcony door open because the air conditioning couldn't compensate for the heat and humidity outside. AQUA SPA POOL It's great. We visited several times. It's a beautiful pool, very relaxing. It deserves all the compliments it receives. The sign said no children were allowed and we didn't see any while we were there. AQUA SPA CAFÉ It's tucked behind the Aqua Spa Pool and would be easy to miss if you weren't looking for it. We had lunch there twice. Some very tasty selections. SHOWS Although I only saw one show (the comedian), my parents went every night. After 10 nights, they could only "rave" about two shows. Overall, they found the theater shows/productions better on their HAL cruise. GALLEY TOUR In the middle of the cruise, I went to Guest Relations and requested a galley tour. They assigned us to 4 p.m. on the last day. There were approximately 25 people in the group, the tour lasted 15 minutes, and the representative leading the tour could only be heard by about half the people. It was interesting, but you only get to see a small part of the overall kitchen. SHIP It doesn't seem "too large" like I thought it might. It feels large when you are walking from the back all the way to the front, but it seemed well organized to us. Lots of nice public areas. Usually things were not overly crowded (except a few nights at Cosmos). It is a very elegant ship. I especially like the dining room - very lovely. OLYMPIC When I went on day three or so to make a reservation, I found that 9 p.m. was the only slot open. Since we wanted to try it, I took it. Our reservation was for Friday night at 9 p.m., at the end of five straight port days. By then, I was too tired to go, but we kept our reservation. It is very nice. Service is very good (although it got off to a slow start and we started to feel that we hadn't been assigned a waiter). Food was excellent. We were happy we tried it, but wouldn't probably go again - but that's just us. BUFFET It seemed they did a really good job with the buffet overall. We had one breakfast and a few lunches. Nice selection. There are four identical lines for food, as well as two specialty areas (one at the rear of the restaurant). ROOM SERVICE The few times we ordered room service, it took 20-30 minutes to arrive. It was good, not exceptional. We ordered continental breakfast almost every day because we enjoyed having our balcony and a big breakfast isn't a priority for us. My parents ordered eggs and ham one morning, and said it all arrived cold. You can use the TV to place a room service order. The selection on the TV menu is a little better than the selection on the menu in the cabin. I tried twice writing in a cup of yogurt on the breakfast menu -- once it came and once it didn't. COFFEE The coffee is hard to describe... Some people like espresso and strong coffee. I don't. I have been to Europe and I don't like the coffee there. Although the coffee we received after dinner in the dining room was actually fine, every single day with our continental breakfast, the coffee was awful. It was so strong I either couldn't dilute it enough to drink it, or felt that it upset my stomach if I did drink it. The buffet coffee was the same as the room service coffee and I found it really disappointing. My boyfriend and Step Dad enjoy strong coffee and they didn't like it either. It tasted as though it was brewed hours ago, no matter what time of day we had it. In the future, I would buy my own coffee pot for my cabin and just leave it behind. FOOD Everyone has their own opinion about food....this is just ours. Overall, we feel that Princess rated higher with their dining room food, and my parents felt the food on their HAL cruise was better. We found most of the entrees we ordered did not meet our expectations. There was relatively nothing that was "exceptional" -- aside from the Olympic. There was lobster one night, and it was dry and I only ate a little. Several of the soups were disappointing. All of the salads were basic. There was little variety of vegetables with the entrees. We don't expect everyone to agree with our opinion of the food - it's just how we felt on this cruise. DINING ROOM SERVICE Excellent. We had a great waiter from South Africa, and a great assistant waiter from Honduras. We were thrilled with them both. We had two couples from Arizona at our table for eight, and it was a great table. PHOTOS The cost has photos has gone up since my last Celebrity cruise and is definitely more than on my last NCL or Princess cruise. They have now configured the 8x10's so that it is printed out on one huge sheet that contains one 8x10 and two 5x7s....for $37.50. If you just want the 8x10 or just the two 5x7s, it is $25. It seemed kind of high to us. We had several taken and bought two. CAPTAIN'S CLUB It has been of no real benefit. I received no perks. There was no priority or early embarkation. The cocktail party I attended was in the Celebrity Theater. It was hard to get the wait staff's attention to get a drink and I don't think that one party merits the fee. They made a five-minute speech about how many ships they have now and named the one person who had cruised the most (who was not present). STAFF ATTITUDE I had told my boyfriend that some people feel the staff is more reserved on Celebrity. We found everyone to be very pleasant, helpful, and nice to us. Very hard working people. CORKAGE FEE We sailed on May 31st. Apparently, the corkage fee was DOUBLED on June 1st. That was the first night I took a bottle of wine to the dining room. I was NOT happy when the receipt said $12 to serve the bottle of wine. I explained that I didn't feel it was appropriate to change it after my cruise has begun. I ended up speaking with the head sommelier, and then two nights later the restaurant manager came to speak with us and told me we would not be charged any corkage fees for the remainder of the week... The first $12 stayed on my bill. Our tablemates told me that two gentleman in one of the lounges were extremely unhappy to find the corkage fee had doubled - they had brought a case of wine onboard. She said he wanted to speak to the Captain! I didn't go that far, but I still didn't appreciate the policy being changed with no notice that I was aware of. SECURITY The system is supposed to be that each person gets their cabin card and has their photo snapped at initial boarding. Then at each port, they can match your photo up as you come and go, and keep track of who is onboard or missing. My boyfriend and Step Dad did not have their cards initially when we checked in. When we went to Guest Relations, they gave them a card, but said nothing about getting their photo taken to go with it. It was two days before security noticed my boyfriend's photo wasn't on the monitor and just snapped it, without asking for his ID. My Step Dad was never asked for his photo - they never missed it. All the carry on bags went through an x-ray machine upon boarding at each port, but I never saw anything hand searched. BRINGING ALCOHOL ONBOARD We brought a few bottles of wine onboard in our checked luggage and had no problem. We bought wine at two other ports and brought it onboard and had no problem. Our tablemate bought rum in Barbados and brought it on with no problem. ST. THOMAS IMMIGRATION CHECK The good news was that it went smoothly. They had people report to the Celebrity Theater at 8:00. We went at 7:40 and walked right through the line - there wasn't all 2,000 people at once! The bad news was that everyone didn't show up. They started making announcements at 8:30 and no one was allowed to leave the ship until almost 9 a.m. because of those who did not report. SUITES ON DECK SIX We were in cabin 7177. From our balcony, we could see the large patios of several suites. They had no privacy. If it were me, I wouldn't have been happy with those cabins. Deck 7 and 8 seemed the best. OCEAN GRILLE CAFÉ DINNERMy parents went up on night three to have a casual dinner, without realizing they were required to have a reservation. I thought reservations were accepted but not necessarily required. They arrived at 7:15 and although the restaurant was hardly busy, the Maitre D told them they had to return at 8:00 to be seated. He assured them they would still make the show, but the dinner ran late. They weren't impressed very much with the entrees they ordered. DISEMBARKATION It did not seem well organized either... I said we had an early flight (because I had reserved a rental car to sightsee) and received the first color tags. They said they would begin disembarking at 8:30 and to be out of your cabin by 8:00. By 7:45 we were waiting in the lounge. 8:30 they announced three people who needed to report to the BANK. No other announcement was made until 9:10 when the first color tag was called. Then about 200 people tried to exit at an exit that was single file. No one checked that people had the right color tags. It was very chaotic trying to locate your luggage. After we gave up on coordinating the rental car (we'd been out on the curb for almost an hour), we decided to take a taxi to the airport. It was 10:30 and the line was unending for people waiting to catch a taxi and it had begun raining. We hitched a ride to the airport with a rental car bus and tipped him. FT. LAUDERDALE AIRPORTM We arrived at 11 a.m. and were originally told by the skycap at American that it was too early to take our luggage. I asked nicely and he insinuated he could take them for a tip. He took the luggage and I tipped him. That was the good news. The bad news (as others have said) is that the airport won't allow you through security until two hours before you plane departs. If you are extra early to arrive, you are just STUCK. Even though we didn't have our luggage, we were restricted to a small area of the airport - along with all the other stuck people... Everything ran too late for us to get the rental car I intended to get so we could go sightseeing... Instead we ended up waiting endlessly at the airport for our 4:00 flight.< BR> PORTS OF CALL ST. MAARTENThere are six rental car agencies on the pier. It's a breeze to get a car there. I had reserved one with Budget. We drove to Marigot and shopped. Then stopped by Orient Beach for photos. Then spent about two hours at Dawn Beach. It's a great beach. Very pretty, has a restaurant, and bathrooms and a shower. The bartender told me the wrong part to try for snorkeling and the current was way too strong. So, we ran out of time and didn't get to try the far end of the cove where the snorkeling was. It was a great day and I highly recommend Dawn Beach. ST. LUCIA I coordinated the MV LEISURE private yacht charter (50' yacht) with other Cruise Critic cruisers. We had a total of 23 people (6 were kids). It was a great day. I think everyone had a good time. It was very similar to one of the ship's excursions. If I did it again, I would try to create a little better itinerary. Some of the places they took us were a little heavy on the hiking - given the heat and humidity. For instance, the drive in volcano amounts to a hike to see some sulphur pools...if you've been to Yellowstone, you've already seen it. The buffet lunch at a plantation was great (same place the ship's tours had gone). The yacht was nice and we enjoyed the snorkeling after lunch at Anse Cochon marine preserve area. Exceptionally clear water. Made lots of new friends. BARBADOS There is one car rental agency at the port and it took an hour to get our rental van. Two of our new friends (Matt + Amanda and their newborn) joined us and my parents. The six of us had a good day. We braved the roads of Barbados to sightsee. The roads aren't bad and if you have a good sense of direction and ask for directions when you need it, it's not a bad place to drive. We stayed out of downtown Bridgetown. We drove across the middle and saw their oldest church and then on to the east coast to Bathsheba. Gorgeous views. We went around the tip and back to the west coast, which has many great beaches. We stopped at the Beach Colony Hotel. It is beautiful there. A great beach front restaurant and beach. It was a little expensive for lunch, but the location is perfect. Buy lunch, then you can use their facilities. They are almost adjacent to Folkstone park, which is for snorkeling. If you just walk down the beach 200 yards to the left of the hotel, there is great snorkeling right there. A great end to the day. ST. KITTS It was a relatively short day because they don't start the tendering until 10:00 a.m. This was our first trip there. We rented another van for all of us and went sight seeing. St. Kitts is beautiful. Good roads and very easy to drive. It's fairly small. We drove up to the Batik factory and gardens. Absolutely beautiful there. Then up to the Brimstone Fortress. It has stunning views. It was $5 admission per person. It's quite a hike up the hill (after a hair raising drive up the hill) to the Fortress but well worth it. After that, we drove back towards town and tried to find Turtle Beach. The map Celebrity gave us was off a bit and I thought we had passed it but we hadn't. We never made it to Turtle Beach, but did go to South Friar's. They do have food there....but it wasn't as nice as some of the other places during the trip. We didn't try to find snorkeling there because we barely had an hour to stay. It was great to visit St. Kitts because the people are very friendly, and the island is not as commercial as other ports, so you don't have the aggressive sales pitches constantly. ST. THOMAS During all my previous cruises, I have gone to St. John. This time I finally saw most of St. Thomas. We rented a car (of course...). By St. Thomas we were really tired! We drove across to the lookout over Megan's Bay, then up to Mountain Top, then around towards Red Hook and stopped at Sapphire Beach at the hotel. It is a really nice beach there. We ate at their restaurant by the pool. Beautiful setting. I had run out of energy but didn't want to miss my last chance to snorkel. We drove the couple of miles around the corner to Coki Beach. We paid $10 for two beach chairs for my parents and we snorkeled for an hour. It was amazing. Absolutely clear. Very friendly fish! It was on par with St. Lucia's snorkeling. Both were great stops. We made it back to Havensight Mall by 3 p.m. for some shopping. I also found a one hour photo there and they developed my two disposable underwater cameras onto a CD. ALONE IN PORTS We were sailing almost alone the whole ten days. In Barbados, there was one Carnival ship. At St. Kitts there was one Star Clippers ship. Every other port we were fortunate enough to be the only ship docked. WEATHER We had great days in port - if a bit too hot and humid. The first two sea days out were overcast and cloudy. The last two sea days back were mostly over cast, with a little bit of sun. The seas were extremely calm 99% of the time. There were only a couple of times that you could feel the ship moving. CONCLUSION It was a really good cruise. We enjoyed the Millennium and would sail her or her sisters again. Celebrity does a really good job and we wouldn't hesitate to recommend them overall. CELEBRITY VS. PRINCESS This is just our opinion of the differences that stand out - Announcements: Princess makes few announcements, but you can tune your TV to hear them in your cabin. Celebrity makes few announcements, but you have to open the door or stand in the hall to hear them if you are in your cabin. TV Stations: Princess seems to have more channels to choose from, as well as CNN continually. Celebrity has fewer stations and a lot of trouble keeping their satellite feed - CNN froze or didn't transmit the first two days. Dining Options: Princess wins in this area. Whether it's the continual option of popping into the buffet or being able to have set or flexible dinner times, Princess has the most options. Although open seating/personal choice isn't for everyone, we enjoyed the option of having it on Princess. Staff: Both have great staffs. Staff on Princess seems a little more friendly and personable, with Celebrity being politely friendly. Pools: We don't use them constantly, but appreciate that Princess has fresh water pools open all the time. Pool area: On the Ocean Princess, the pool area is very nice and it's great that they have an extra small pool at the very aft. On the Millennium, the general pool space is kind of small, but it's great that they have the Aqua Spa Pool to use. Buffet: We appreciate that Princess has an open buffet all the time and that you can go there for dinner, too. Celebrity has a nice buffet but you have to watch the clock to make sure you're going at the right time. Basic cabins: We enjoyed the space and layout of the Celebrity cabins. The bathrooms have more counter, cabinet, and shower space. Most cabins have a twin sofa so there is somewhere to sit and have breakfast. Embarkation: My four Princess cruises have somehow been much smoother than either of my Celebrity cruises. Whether that is luck or the norm, I don't know. Promenade deck: We love the promenade wrap-around deck on Princess with the nice teak deck and great lounge chairs. Theater: The theaters on Celebrity are larger and laid out better than the theater on Princess (at least on the Sun Class ships). Dining Room: We love the two-story open dining room on Celebrity, with the tall windows and high ceilings. Food: Although every ship can have good and bad weeks, our opinion is that most of the dining room food on Princess is good, and some is exceptional. This sailing with Celebrity didn't quite measure up for us. Let me know if you have any specific questions. View ALadyNCal's cruise photo album at http://imageevent.com/aladyncal/millennium053102. mystuff@horizonbound.comJune 2002 Read Less
Eastbound Transatlantic Crossing - Ft. Lauderdale to Barcelona   This was our third transatlantic crossing, first going eastbound, our 29th cruise and our 6th cruise with Celebrity.   April 29 - The embarkation on the ... Read More
Eastbound Transatlantic Crossing - Ft. Lauderdale to Barcelona   This was our third transatlantic crossing, first going eastbound, our 29th cruise and our 6th cruise with Celebrity.   April 29 - The embarkation on the Millennium was quick. Our passports were taken and we were told that they would be returned in Barcelona. We were in category 2B, a balcony cabin. The ship left port at 4:30 PM. We were headed for Bermuda. This was the first time we headed north when leaving Port Everglades. The seas were on the rough side but the Millennium handled it very well. April 30 a Sea Day May 1 - We arrived in Bermuda at King's Wharf and it's beautiful blue waters. We took the ferry to Hamilton. May 2 - We left Bermuda at noon instead of our scheduled midnight departure. May 3, 4, 5 and 6 were sea days. Each night we set the clock 1 hour ahead. We were surprised that we felt the time lag. There weren't many activities planned. Breakfast and lunch were not open seating. In our opinion this policy was too rigid. We were second seating and if we chose to eat in the dining room we found the activities we were interested in were scheduled during our meal times. The food in the dining room was excellent and the food in the buffet was just fair, so we chose to eat in the dining room.  May 6 was the Captain's party. As usual on Celebrity's ships the Captain was not there. The cruise director talked about the September 29 cruise on the Mercury for Captain club members. We mainly had good weather and calm seas during this crossing. Our passports were returned. May 7 - We arrived at Funchal, Madiera a beautiful island. Celebrity provided free shuttle service into town. We ate lunch at a restaurant off the main pier that had small boats with 2 tables each in them that were all connected. We had their specialty "filete de espada" and their local wine, a very enjoyable lunch. It is an easy walking city and there is a cable car that goes to the top of the city with beautiful views. The weather was good. Seabourne Goddess II was next to us in port. Approximately 43,000 people live here and is it known as the "Pearl of the Atlantic." Big tree lined boulevards and beautiful fountains. People were very polite and well dressed. May 8 - Another Sea Day. May 9 - We arrived in Lisbon, weather was overcast. Celebrity provided free shuttle service to downtown area. The downtown and dock areas are under a lot of construction. We set our clocks 1 hour ahead again. May 10 - We passed through the Pillars of Hercules into the calm Mediterranean Sea. This was the calmest waters we have ever seen in the Mediterranean. Good visibility of the Rock of Gibraltar and Africa. There was a lot of commercial ship traffic. We arrived at Malaga, capital of Costa del Sol. Over 500,000 people live here. Lots of resort hotels and high-rises and a large European retirement community. New large docks are being built. Picasso was born here. We hired a private driver and visited the Gibralfaro castle. The views were beautiful from there. The only places open in town were the restaurants and a few tourist shops. We decided to have lunch in town and try their Paella and Sangria, it was a good choice. We wished that Celebrity would have allowed more time for this port. The Grandeur was also in port. Celebrity provided a free shuttle into the downtown area. May 11 - Another Sea day. May 12 - We arrived in Barcelona. We disembarked ship before 8 AM and that is when things fell apart. The buses were there, but no signs to direct passengers. Finally Celebrity reps said to get on any bus because they were all going to the airport. Passengers had to load their own luggage on the busses while drivers stood around and watched. When we got to the airport all luggage was unloaded in a central area and there were very few luggage carts available. The Celebrity reps at the airport were in total confusion. It was very chaotic. We have disembarked several times from the port of Barcelona on previous cruises which always went smoothly, so we were surprised how poor this transfer was handled. Finally after mass confusion we boarded Air France for our post cruise in Paris. We sat on the plane for 2 hours because of "technical difficulties." The flight to Paris was only 1 hour 20 minutes. The flight was good and we were served a full lunch. After we collected our luggage we walked through customs and no one asked to see our passports.  Even though we were late arriving our prearranged driver was waiting for us at Charles DeGaulle Airport . Comments about Millennium - ship is beautiful. Dining room food and service was the best we have experienced on any ship. The cabin service was excellent. We thought the buffet areas could have been designed better, and the buffet food should have been  better than what it was. Security was lax. Many Europeans were on this cruise. We had an interesting international table. Entertainment was good. There was no satellite TV during the crossing. However, satellite Internet access was available for 95 cents per minute. Customer relations and tour desks seemed very disorganized and confused, unable to answer simple questions. The casino is located right off the Grand Foyer which also has the table games area and musical area. When the pianist, harpist and 4 piece string musicians played the noise from the casino was distracting. We were surprised to see plastic flower arrangements on the ship. We thought is looked tacky. However, the morning on our departure we noticed 2 tractor trailers delivering fresh flowers to the ship. The sailing after ours was a charter for a German corporation for 1 week. We arranged our air with Celebrity with a deviation to Paris. We stayed at the Paris Hilton which is located close to the Eiffel Tower in an upscale residential neighborhood. Our Paris package was arranged by our travel agent included limo pickups, a tour to the Normandy Beaches, a city tour which included a riverboat cruise on the Seine and a visit to the second level of the Eiffel Tower. We arranged for a private night time tour of Paris. Paris at night is an incredible sight. The only museum we visited was the d'Orsay. We had worked out walking tours before we left home. The Champs Elysees was wonderful. The only problem we had with Paris was the wild traffic, cars going in every direction, cutting each other off. Crossing the street was a real challenge. Five days in Paris was not enough to see everything we wanted. We found Paris prices reasonable, much less than London. The restaurants were very good. We speak very little French but did not have any problems with communications. The weather in Paris alternated between warm and sunny or cold and rainy, sometimes within hours. We even had a hail storm hit us while we were at the Normandy Beaches. We were glad we always carried rainwear. May 17 - We returned home. Our flight from Paris to Miami on Air France was a nightmare. After we boarded the plane, the pilot drove around the airport for about 1 hour and then announced we had "technical difficulties." There was a water leak inside the plane. Mechanics kept checking it over and after about 2 hours said it was "fixed." The plane had to be refueled. They asked the passengers to unbuckle their seatbelts in the event that something went "wrong" while refueling. The flight attendants stood at the emergency exits ready to spring open the doors. Finally we took off. Then we learned that the way the mechanics had fixed the water leak was to shut off a lavatory. We arrived in Miami about 4 hours late. Customs check went smoothly and our limo driver was waiting for us. Evelyn & Bob (TRBOVE@aol.com)May 2001 Read Less
by Mary & Vincent Finelli Picture this: You have just returned to your cabin after the "Welcome Aboard" show. It is 10 pm and you step out onto your aft balcony overlooking the ship's wake. You are mesmerized by a ... Read More
by Mary & Vincent Finelli Picture this: You have just returned to your cabin after the "Welcome Aboard" show. It is 10 pm and you step out onto your aft balcony overlooking the ship's wake. You are mesmerized by a dazzling light show of moonbeams creating moving geometric patterns and lines on an ocean rippled by the wake of the ship. On past cruises we have observed spectacular scenes of silvery moonlight rays shining brightly on the ship's wake and on the white crests of the ocean waves, but have never seen such a spectacular vision. This is very hard to describe, but it must be a natural phenomenon like the rainbow, where certain conditions exist to make the optical illusion of a waving checkerboard design. This was magical, the half moon shining over the ship's wake was just stunning. What better reason to have booked an aft cabin? And this was only the first half moon of the lunar cycle, so we were anticipating seven evenings of moonlight spectacles. And each night the moon grew bigger and more beautiful, but not as dazzling as the illusion of the first night. This was our 24th cruise in the past six years. We sailed on the Millennium last January and booked our wedding anniversary cruise this year in the same cabin #8176. Since we enjoyed our first cruise so much, we returned to relive happy days and excellent accommodations, service and food. From the numbers of repeat Celebrity cruisers aboard this ship, it is obvious many others believe, as we do, that Celebrity "exceeds expectations." Our reunion with old friends, the unforgettably kind Hotel Manager Dimitrios Anagnostou (Greece) and the cosmopolitan Olympic Restaurant Manager Raffaele Bernardini, was mutually warm; moreover, we made a new friend, the interesting Master of the ship-- Captain Michael Karatzas (Greece) -- more about these unique men later. FIRST IMPRESSIONS The Celebrity ships are easily recognized in port, just look for the big "X" (the Greek letter "Chi" symbol of the Chandris family, the original owner and founder of Celebrity). They have navy blue hulls with a gold stripe around the promenade deck and orange life boats. The Millennium's stats are tonnage 91,000, length 964.6 ft., beam 105.6 ft., draft 26.3 ft. and a cruising speed of 24 knots. She was built by Chantiers L'Atlantique, St. Nazaire, France and made her maiden voyage July 2000. Celebrity Cruises has been rated Five Star by Berlitz, and ranks in the top ten cruise lines for service and cuisine (the famous chef Michel Roux oversees the food). The quiet elegance of this ship is kept in exquisite condition under the watchful eyes of Capt. Karatzas and Mr. Anagnostou. EMBARKATION With only one security check point at the entrance of Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, luggage drop off was easy. We filled out a clearance form for the Bahamas and went to the special counter for Captain's Club and were headed toward the elevators in five minutes. On Level 2 a crew member took Vincent's wheelchair and accompanied us aboard. Curbside to cabin in ten minutes, very nice. THE SHIP After our last cruise on the Carnival Pride, where the extensive decorations by ship designer Joe Farcus overwhelmed us, it was a pleasant return to the sober design of the Millennium. The artwork is carefully selected and some of it whimsical, such as a tree picture which seems to be hung upside down, but on close examination it is actually a reflection of a tree in the still waters of a pool. Also on the same Deck 3, near the Grand Foyer is a ceramic bust by Luigi Ontani (Italy) of Christopher Columbus who wears on his head models of his three ships: the "Nina," "Pinta," and the "Santa Maria." But, the cleverest painting is just outside the Casino: It is a very formal looking picture of a group playing cards; the mood is lightened by the eyes of one female player watching a servant to see if she is aiding her opponents in cheating. Throughout the ship there are some "modern art" pieces which remain indecipherable to us, but they may be interesting to others. Continental Deck 2 is cabins only. Plaza Deck 3 aft holds the Cinema & Conference Center, midship is the beautiful classic alternative restaurant, the Olympic, with the original walnut paneling from the White Star Liner the Olympic (sister ship to the ill fated Titanic). There is also the original Wine Cellar from the Olympic and a fantastic collection of famous wines. You must make a reservation immediately when boarding, if you wait until mid cruise you may not get one. See the Manager Raffaele for a night you will always remember (more later). Midship is the Grand Foyer with the Guest relations Desk, and the Glass Elevators overlooking the ocean; then there are cabins; and forward is the main floor of the Celebrity Theater with its sofa seats, very nice and comfortable. Its walls are made lovely with torch like illumination. Promenade Deck 4 has the lower level of the Metropolitan Restaurant and the Rendez Vous Lounge with its dance floor. Midship is the second level of the Grand Foyer with a lighted gold onyx staircase to Deck 5 and the Cova Cafe`. Next is the Fortunes Casino with the classical Greek statues of women with water urns and huge murals of lovely ladies in bucolic settings. Very nice. Then forward is Michael's Club -- a genteel cigar smokers' refuge. Finally, there is the second tier of the Celebrity Theater. Entertainment Deck 5 aft has the upper level of the Metropolitan Restaurant where we dined early seating at table #525 over looking the Grand Staircase and the lower level with the Captain's table (more about this later). Midship is the beautiful Platinum Club with unique crystal lights and royal purple upholstered chairs and a Champagne Bar with huge urns holding chilling bottles. Walk forward and enter the Grand Foyer and the Cova Cafe` di Milano (reminiscent of the real Cova Pasticceria-Confetteria founded in 1817 across from the famous La Scala Opera House, Milan, Italy). This is the best place to people watch, while having exquisite coffees, teas, cocktails and the finest desserts. Don't miss it. We ran into the Hotel Manager Dimitrios and Captain Karatzas here among others. Penthouse Deck 6, Vista Deck 7, Panorama Deck 8 and Sky Deck 9 are all cabins, mostly with verandas. Resort Deck 10 aft has the Ocean Grille and the Ocean Cafe` both serving great food (individually prepared pastas, sushi, an oriental buffet and Pizza from 3 pm to 7 pm and 10 pm to 1 am (hours that we wished were expanded, since first seating dinner would be ruined by pizza that late, how about 11 am to 7 pm?). Eating at the buffet was made pleasant by the linen place mats on the trays, quick assistance with waiters carrying trays and assisting with drinks. This is where a passenger notes how helpful the crew is. Try navigating a buffet in a wheelchair, believe us, it's not easy. Many times we avoid this way of dining, but not on the Millennium, here we enjoyed it. Midship on Deck 10 is the Riviera Pool and hot tubs; forward is the Aqua Spa with its two whirlpools and salt water therapy lap pool surrounded by teak wood chaise lounges and privacy glass walls. All the way forward is the Thermarium and finally the Gym with aerobic and cardiovascular equipment. Sunrise Deck 11 aft holds "Ship Mates Fun Factory" and the Arcade for the younger cruisers. For the athletic and sports fans there are the Golf Simulators, the Jogging Track and the Extreme Sports Bar with large screen TVs. Here can be found Tom Shannon's (USA) painted fiber glass figures, "Climber," "Fly & Dive," "Snowboarder," etc. and in the stairwell is the "Summer Green" chandelier by Dale Chihuly, a lime green amazing work of blown glass. The Mast Bar, and Aquadome are also on Deck 11. Forward is the Cosmos Night Club with a beautiful 270 degree view of the sea ahead. The interiors match the outside of the ship: Navy Blue and Gold. There is a lighted polished metal dance floor and circular bar with a lighted polished metal space dome. The ceiling sports lighted sea gulls: Fantastic! Sports Deck 12 has rest of the sports areas: an open deck area and the basketball court. CABINS We chose the same cabin #8176 as last year, since it is so spacious (538 sq. ft. including balcony). When entering on the left there is a huge bathroom with safety rails. Then there is a queen bed, two night stands with lamps, a love seat and glass coffee table. On the right there is a mirrored wall and a triple wardrobe: The first two sections have hangers and the next section holds eight drawers and the personal safe. There is a lighted vanity/desk with two more cupboards. The far wall is glassed with a sliding door to the huge veranda with two chairs, a table and two chaise lounges. By far an excellent reason to book the aft cabins is this extraordinary balcony overlooking the ship's wake. Our cabin stewardess Maria was phenomenal, always smiling and everything in order. This is the only ship that does not remove the complimentary robes the night before debarkation. The butler Paul (India) delivered fresh fruit daily, High Tea at 4 pm and CanapEs at 5 and always pleasantly smiling. The credit for the impeccable condition of the staterooms must also be given to the supervision of the capable Chief Housekeeper Georgios Dimakareas (Greece) and his watchful assistant Nilde. FOOD & SERVICE The Metropolitan Restaurant serves the unique recipes of the culinary master Michel Roux under the direction of the very young and serious about food Executive Chef Christophe Belin (France). Restaurant Manager Zbigniew Ludwicki (Poland) orchestrates the wonderful service and Asst. Maitre d' Zbigniew Warchol (Poland) is vigilant of his waiters. Our waiter Dragan (Croatia) and Asst. Waiter Walter Paz (Honduras) were fast, flawless and friendly. This restaurant, unlike many others on ships, was always full for the dinners were events. Imagine serving upwards of 9,000 meals per day and all so delicious! Some of the more memorable dishes were as follows: Appetizers, such as shrimp cocktail, prosciutto with melon and mushroom Pate` Confit. Breads were excellent especially the breadsticks served daily (the fennel seeded ones were the best). There was a nice variety of both hot and cold soups. Salads were interesting and Caesar salad was always available. Entrees included excellent veal, beef, chicken and don't miss the rack of lamb or the stuffed quail (a light bread and giblet stuffing). Our compliments to the chef. Celebrity is one of the few lines to still have sommeliers in the dining rooms; this is a plus for Vincent who drinks wine with his meals. We enjoyed dinner at the beautifully decorated Captain's table (a centerpiece of cymbidium orchids as lovely as the single rose that the Captain gave each lady at the dinner): Escargot, Pate` Confit, Carolina soup, Tornados of Beef au jus, Petit Fours and two wines, a dry white and a medium body red. Captain Karatzas is a delightful host and Mary, seated next to him, was happy to engage in conversation about the ship, safety (which he cannot stress enough), and world events (on which he is well versed) and of course his beloved home Athens, Greece. He is "an Officer and a Gentleman" and imparts confidence to the passengers as Master of this marvelous ship. The only thing that can rival dinner at the Captain's Table is dining at the Olympic. This restaurant oozes atmosphere with the beautiful walnut paneling with its festoons of gold gilt. In this formal ambiance, we dined on a meal selected personally by our friend the Manager Raffaele Bernardini: Vincent's shrimp were prepared table side with arugula and Balsamic vinegar -- a culinary experience; Mary's Russian Salad was superb. Just when you think nothing can top this -- the desserts do: moist chocolate SoufflE, no tiny tid bit, but large enough to serve two. Dinner is topped off with a tiered tray of petit fours. Ah, memories are made of this! Raffaele has trained his staff personally and the service is impeccable. Don't miss this opportunity. You may never dine like this at sea again. The twenty-four hour room service is quick and extensive. We had a full breakfast served in our cabin every morning. And this is the first time we had continental breakfast served in the cabin on the morning of debarkation. ENTERTAINMENT Cruise Director Eric Bohus, also an excellent tenor, is the friendliest person on board. He organized a series of activities that were bound to keep cruisers engaged: Library Trivia (of which we each won one) Team Trivia, Bingo (jackpots over $1,000) Bridge, Computer Class, Darts, Shuffleboard, Table Tennis, Movies, Golf putting, and the evening shows. Show time was on a par with other lines, but noteworthy was dancer Meisha Lee featured in several numbers. Headliner Thien Fu, juggler/comedian, was funny and the married team of Shirley Harmer and Beni Mason were great in their imitation of Louis Prima and Keeley Smith. Around the ship various entertainers were excellent: The Enigma String Quartet who played in the foyer and nightly in the dining room; Melanie the harpist performed in the Cova; however, most enjoyable were the "Young Duo" Gianni and Gabriella who played nightly in the Rendez Vous Lounge Deck 4. This was always crowded, but, they could also be seen and heard from the balcony above in the Platinum Club. Social Hostesses Katrina Crow and Sarah Van Pevenage were very friendly and busy, busy, busy looking after everyone. Thanks so much. This cruise is one we won't forget easily for the many friends we revisited and the many new ones we made. We were sad to say farewell to Dimitrios Anagnostou who made our cruise so memorable; we shall return to Celebrity soon. PORTS OF CALL San Juan, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Arrival: 1 pm. Departure: 8 pm. The following are some of the shore excursions offered by Celebrity: 1. Old & New City Tour, 2 1/2 hrs. Very nice with a stop at San Cristobal Fortress and down town shopping time ($23). 2. Rain Forest Full Day (with lunch and swimming), 6 to 7 hrs. ($58). 3. City Tour and Bacardi Rum Distillery, 4 hrs. ($26). Catalina Island, Dominican Republic, Wednesday, Arrival: 7 am. Departure: 5 pm. In addition to the beautiful beach and barbecue hosted by the ship's crew on this private island, the following are some of the excursions: 1. Altos De Chavon Village and Folk Show, 4 hrs. ($46). 2. Horseback Riding at Casa De Campo, 4 hrs. ($72). 3. Kayak Adventure on the Chavon River, 4 hrs. ($72). St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, Thursday, Arrival: 8 am. Departure: 6 pm. Shopping is the best here. Don't forget the best linens for the best prices at Mr. Tablecloth. This is an obligatory stop for Mary. Many tours are offered by the ship. Some of them are listed here: 1. Island Sights Tour, 3 hrs. A must for the first time ($34). 2. Island Drive and Coral World, a visit to the Underwater Observatory and Marine Park, 3 hrs. ($41). 3. St. John Safari/Snorkeling, a bus ride through the Rockefeller's U.S. National Park to Trunk Bay, beach combing, sunbathing and snorkeling, 4 hrs. ($48). Other tours and activities offered on St. Thomas include scuba, beach, Kon-tiki Party Boat, sea plane and helicopter tours, kayaking, biking, sky ride to Paradise Point, etc. which can be purchased at the Excursion Desk or arranged individually. Nassau, Bahamas, Saturday, Arrival: 12 noon. Departure: 6 pm. 1. Nassau & Paradise Island Tour, 2 hrs. ($22). This is interesting for first timers. 2. Seaworld Explorer Glass Bottom Boat, a tour of the Underwater Marine Park at Athol Island, 1 1/2 hrs. ($42). 3. Blackbeards Cay Beach Break, a relaxing time on this beautiful beach with chair and drink included, 3 hrs. ($21). DEBARKATION Vincent had wheelchair assistance from the Grand Foyer to the luggage pickup. A porter took our luggage curb side, where we met our daughter-in-law Paige who drove us home by 9:30 am. SUGGESTIONS After such a great cruise there is very little to suggest for improvement. This is one of very few ships which offer drinkable (odor-free) water in dining rooms and staterooms. One of the frequent complaints we have made in our cruise reviews has been the chlorine taste of drinking water, ice cubes and beverages aboard most of the ships. We also have found the pasta in the dining room and at the Ocean Grill to be palatable, even though not al dente, it was not gluey or overcooked. We have not tried the pizza, but we were told by others that it was good. The complaint for the pizza was the serving hours (3:00 pm to 7:00 pm), too short compared to other cruise lines. The following are some minor points which, in our opinion, would make this one of the best valued cruise in the competitive market of this industry: 1. Make the pizza hours longer; some cruise lines have pizza available as long as 24 hours. 2. Have crew members curb side to help with wheelchairs for embarkation. 3. Let cruisers know about the "Dialysis at Sea" program. There may be people who feel they cannot travel because of their kidney disease and this program could be just what they need. We met a cruiser using the dialysis aboard. She was on her second cruise and very happy with this opportunity. With the sweet memories of this cruise we are looking forward to two others which we have booked for the near future: one to South America on the Norwegian Dream, March 3rd, mainly for the very interesting itinerary (Patagonia, the Falkland Islands, the Strait of Magellan and the Chilean Fjords) and the next on the Costa Atlantica, April 7th, to revisit this beautiful ship, a floating art museum. Happy Cruising! VNFinelli@mindspring.comFebruary 2002 Read Less
My husband and I & 4 friends just returned from 13 day, transatlantic crossing on the Millenium, April 29-May 12, 2001. The registering process for embarkation took us 1 1/4 hrs. It took our friends who arrived later, over 2 ... Read More
My husband and I & 4 friends just returned from 13 day, transatlantic crossing on the Millenium, April 29-May 12, 2001. The registering process for embarkation took us 1 1/4 hrs. It took our friends who arrived later, over 2 hours. They need to plan better. I took extra underclothes because they do not have washer/dryer facilities. This was no problem for me. There were NO live flowers to be had. What a shame. Everything artificial. The shows were all very professional and very enjoyable. Technical effects were sensational. Near the end of this long cruise, the same performers were struggling for material. They needed some new performers. The TV was not properly set up on the ship, no CNN after first day until end of cruise, nor any satellite channels. No selection of other tv channels. Timing for the movies shown was either during breakfast or dinner. They needed to have continuous showing so movies were available at more times. The several times that I attended the Elegant Tea, which is held in the rear of the ship, the vibration was quite obvious, although it has been in drydock 2 times to repair it. The tea cups & saucers were shaking on the table. The ship was quite clean although I found 3 different occasions when the ladies room needed a cleaning, especially the ones around the pool area. Speaking of the outdoor pool area, there was plenty of seating. However, the steel drum band was very loud & it was impossible to carry on a conversation with my friends or for someone to read a book. The sounds were all over, thanks to lots of audio speakers. FOOD - The outdoor Riviera Grill served pizza, hot dogs & hamburgers & fries, every day. The pizza cooking was not consistent, however pizza got better & crispier each day. The dogs & burgers were cooked elsewhere and brought here & put in a holding pan. Tasted overcooked and cold. Too bad this process occurs. Also, would have liked to have been offered grilled chicken as a selection for lunch. The breakfast buffet was poor to mediocre. We always had to wait in line. The sausages were, "cheap stuff," according to my husband. My husband and my brother-in-law said they did not know how to cook bacon. It appeared precooked or overcooked and tasted like plastic. Ham looked like Spam, floating in liquid. Nova salmon was offered every other day. When I asked if they had whole wheat bread, I was told they had it yesterday. I found marmalade, which I adore, 1 morning out of 13. Had to go to a separate line for any special egg offer, other than scrambled eggs which were offered on buffet line. LUNCH - Generally dining room menu was not to my liking so we all agreed to try lunch buffet. Selection was great when they offered sliced, real turkey or ham, but salads were ordinary, no great selection, never had real blue cheese dressing. I don't call stuffed peppers a gourmet lunch choice. All the desserts looked sensational, did try a few, but I would have preferred more salad choices. Even the tuna looked unappealing, was not the white albacore, which I eat at home. DINNER - 1st night we had salmon & veal as main dinner entrees. The salmon was tasteless and veal was tough & dry. Thought that everything would be, "melt in your mouth", as all the hype of Celebrity's food quality, was what I had read & been told. But the food got better. Soups were poor quality and generally served cold. The salad portions were midget size, so my group learned to order a double salad. Waiter & asst. waiter were outstanding. Extremely pleasant. MIDNIGHT BUFFET - small, ordinary and mainly desserts. PORTS - The timing of arrival at two of the ports was poor. When a ship arrives at noon or 1 pm, there is no time to even see the area if you are on early dinner. They should have arranged to dock earlier in morning. ROOM - Clean with lots of drawers. Room steward was pleasant and did a fine job. Bathroom had outstanding large shower with plenty of hot water. Having no overhead announcements was a pleasure. Nobody listens anyway. All in all, comparing this cruise to the 12 others I have been on, this ship was a bit of a disappointment. Last year we were fortunate enough to take a repositioning cruise, on the exact same dates on the "Grand Princess." There is NO COMPARISON. The Grand Princess is definitely a 5-star ship. Better food quality, selection and presentation. Decor, entertainment, especially 2 completely different shows, at different times, were offered every night. There was absolutely nothing wrong or amiss that we could find on the Grand Princess. Our next cruise will be a Princess Cruise. PilotHerb@aol.comMay 2001 Read Less
This is my review of our family's recent cruise on the inaugural sailing of the Celebrity Millennium from July 1, 2000 to July 15, 2000. It's a little long, but once I started I couldn't stop. Previous Cruises: This was my ... Read More
This is my review of our family's recent cruise on the inaugural sailing of the Celebrity Millennium from July 1, 2000 to July 15, 2000. It's a little long, but once I started I couldn't stop. Previous Cruises: This was my fourth cruise overall, and second with Celebrity. For the rest of my family, it was their second cruise, both with Celebrity. We sailed the Mercury in Alaska together, and I traveled on the Grand Princess to the Mediterranean Sea and the Voyager of the Seas to the Western Caribbean. Because I had sailed on several of the newest and arguably the best ships out there, I have a pretty good basis for comparison. As I am leaving for college on the other side of the country this fall, this was to be our last big family vacation. We kept our fingers crossed that we would not get canceled and fortunately we were not. We originally intended to avoid the inaugural sailing but as you will soon find out, that was not a problem at all! Pre-Cruise: All of our hotel and air arrangements were made without using Celebrity. We bought Air France tickets for $1000 (for 5 people) less than any other airline and more than $1500 less than what Celebrity was asking. We also found hotel rooms to be much cheaper when booking on our own. We departed Houston on June 26 and went to Paris for four days prior to boarding the ship in Amsterdam. This worked out extremely well for us, because we had excellent weather and were able to see a great deal of a city with countless sights to visit. It was very high priced but we found it to be well worth cost. Also, the extra time allowed us to adjust to the seven hour time change that we encountered over there. One recommendation I would give to anyone going on a cruise, particularly in Europe, is to arrive at least a day early. In Europe it is necessary unless you want to waste the first day or two of the cruise sleeping, and it allows for any unexpected delays. Finally on July 1, we headed for the airport to fly to Amsterdam. It is only a 40 minute flight, but we had a three hour delay causing us to arrive in Amsterdam around 1:00. We found our bags and took the transfer bus to the terminal. Embarkation: We were fortunate enough to be Captain's Club members, which made this process go by very smoothly. We had a separate line and check in agents, and we had to wait in NO lines. Others sat in the terminal for what appeared to be an hour or two, and this alone made the $35 worth it. We were on the boat within 15 minutes of arriving. When we arrived in our cabins we found our excursion tickets on the desk next to our dinner seating change to late-a very pleasant surprise and less for us to worry about. Cabins: We had two cabins, both cat. 1B staterooms, both midship, 8108 and 8129, with private (or so we thought) verandas. Room 8108 is right next to a Celebrity suite and for some reason the balcony is only 2/3 the size of standard balconies and looks right into those floor-to-ceiling glass windows. We could have made this an issue but we had the other balcony and eventually realized it was not that big of deal anyway. Other than that little difference, the rooms were identical. The room had a very large amount of storage...enough for 3 people to easily store two weeks of clothes. The bathrooms were the largest I have had in a cabin, although I wish the Voyager's sliding plastic doors would catch on instead of the standard shower curtain. All in all we were very satisfied with our rooms. The Ship: Having been on the Voyager just weeks before, I looked forward to comparing the two ships. However, the two are so different that it would be unfair to compare them. The Millennium is without a doubt the most elegant ship I have seen and gave me a sense of being in more of a "formal" environment. You board the ship on deck 3 at the bottom of the Grand Foyer. This a nice and cozy entrance where you are greeted with white-glove service and taken to the glass elevators. This is the central point of the ship and plays host to the Captain's welcome party and other gatherings. From here on deck 3, you can go to the Olympic (more on that later), the movie theater (which was not complete), the guest relations desk, and the excursion desk. On deck 4, the Grand Foyer is home to the Internet cafe and card tables, as well as the entrance to Fortunes, the ship's casino. This was a very well done room, and in keeping with the tradition of cruise ships, had VERY tight slots. The tables were a little better, though there was only one craps table. Deck 5 of the Grand Foyer has a coffee bar and a tea room. The public lounges were all very well decorated and each had its own unique decor. The Rendez-Vous Lounge on deck 4 was home to many trivia games, pre and post dinner dancing, and karaoke. Interestingly, it had a hole in the center which made it and the Platinum Club share entertainment. For this reason, the Platinum Club rarely had all that many people in it since everyone would just go to the Rendez-Vous Lounge. Both were great places to be both before and after dinner. Cosmos up top was the other main lounge, offering bingo, dancing, wine tasting, private functions, etc. It was also a nice, quiet place to watch the scenery and read a book without worrying about the weather outside. At night, this room turned into the ship's disco, however this was not a very big draw due to the average age on board the ship. Almost all of the teens gathered here at night because the teen disco had been changed into a flower shop. The Celebrity Theater is home to the ship's main entertainment and is a beautiful room complete with artificial torches that are very cool. The entrances are on decks 4 and 5 in the front of the ship. The Emporium on deck 5, Millennium's shopping area, is by far the best on any ship. Popular names sold here include DKNY, Nautica, and Fossil to name a few. Also for sale is Celebrity logo merchandise and duty free items (alcohol and cigarettes). Michael's Club on deck 4 is a nice room, though I only went in once just to look. The photo gallery is right next to Michael's and is very well laid out. The main dining room, the Metropolitan, is home to the majority of the sit down meals you eat while on board. It is a well decorated room with large windows looking out the back of the ship. Interestingly, the crew does not like it, as the tables are close together and the kitchen is on deck 3, forcing the waiters to take trays up an escalator or worse, the stairs. The Ocean Grill and Ocean Cafe served buffet style food for breakfast and lunch, as well as other times such as buffets. Both were beautiful dining areas, though tables were sometimes hard to come by. The Riviera Pool area was nice, but not too crowded, because it was often too cold to go swimming. Deck chairs could always be found, but I'm sure this will change once it gets to the Caribbean. Though I couldn't use it due to a cast on my arm, the Aquaspa pool saw heavy use because it is covered. Chairs were always occupied in here as were the pool and hot tubs. Other than the weight room, I did not look around the Aquaspa area. However, the weight room was more than sufficient and rarely did I find it to be crowded, although I hardly went myself. Two other rooms I forgot to point out are Notes and Words. Notes is a music library where you can listen to one of hundreds of cds. Words is an actual library though it had very few books. This I'm sure will improve with time. These rooms are located midship on decks 6, 7, 8, and 9. With all of these rooms, you would think getting around might be difficult but we found it to be quite the opposite. Elevators were not all that hard to catch with a few exceptions, but the stairs really made it quick. This was a nice change from the Voyager where elevators took forever and the ship was just massive. I also must add that the ship never felt crowded at all, which was very nice. Food: This was honestly the best food I've had on a cruise. I really have no idea how others disliked the food, because it was truly excellent. For breakfast we mainly ate in the Ocean Cafe where they served a traditional buffet. Though nothing special, it provided a nice, quick meal before a big day of touring. We did eat breakfast in the Metropolitan several times, and we found it to be excellent. The selection is huge and everything we got was well prepared and tasted wonderful. For lunch, we never ate in the dining room because the buffet, pasta, and burgers were all so good. Pasta was made to order and was well worth the extra wait. The buffet always had a good variety of fresh, tasty food and an assortment of desserts. There was also a separate place to get ice cream with a different assortment each day. One thing I did not like was the hours of the pizza bar...3 pm - 7 pm and 10 pm - 1 am. The room-service pizza was also limited to these hours. However, the pizza was good and often became an extra meal for me during the day. The room-service menu was somewhat limited (interestingly it was nearly identical to that on the Voyager), but was very useful for those cravings at 3 am. The midnight buffets were very well done and showed just how amazing the chefs on board are. They also had gourmet bites some nights that waiters carried around in some of the lounges which were excellent as well. As for the food in the Metropolitan, it was unbelievable. We never had anything that had to be taken back due to poor quality, and everything we ordered was cooked to perfection. Our waiter was also incredibly generous and we often ended up with extras of everything. There were some nights where we had 15+ desserts for 5 people after only ordering 1 per person. The shrimp and lobster were particularly good as were the filet mignon and prime rib. There was not a single night where I left the Metropolitan dissatisfied. The Olympic: This is an experience not to be missed on Millennium!!! We booked as soon as we got on board and got the date and time we wanted without a problem. The cover charge is $12 per person, but it is well worth it. The room is absolutely gorgeous with the original paneling and beautiful furniture. There was also live music that made for a truly elegant dining experience. Some of the dishes are prepared right in front of you, allowing the smells to entice your taste buds before you even take a bite. You eat 4 courses-an appetizer/soup/salad, main entree, cheese, dessert. I had shrimp scampi for my appetizer which was one of the best plates of shrimp I have ever had. I then had the rack of lamb in a puff pastry which was incredible. After the cheese course, I finished with crepes suzette which was also great. It was some of the best food I've had and compares to some of the best restaurants in Houston. Entertainment: After three cruises, I wasn't all that excited about sitting through every show in the theater. I did think that the singers and dancers did a great job and the shows were, for the most part, very well produced. Other entertainers on board were good, but not great. One person does stick out though and that is Mio the roaming magician. He performed close up magic to small groups throughout the cruise and his tricks were awesome! He did, however, leave the ship in Copenhagen to come back to the states. Onyx played live music throughout the day and I found them to be very good and quite versatile as far as the songs they played. There was also a women who played the harp and a duet who sang in the lounges. Overall, I was very satisfied with the entertainment. Night Life: If this is your thing, don't expect a whole lot from the Millenium while its in Europe. The average age on board was very old, leaving very few people up late. The disco never got started just because there weren't a whole lot of people in there. This was hard after going on the Voyager where everyone parties until 4 in the morning every night. Instead of the disco, I usually spent my time in Fortunes playing craps and blackjack (luckily the gambling age was only 18). This was where most of the night life took place on Millennium. Looking back, it was probably good that I didn't stay out like on Voyager, because I simply would not have been able to go around on tours the next day. Crew: This was the friendliest and most helpful crew I have encountered on a cruise. Our waiter Ismail was awesome, as was our asst. waiter and our cabin steward. They went the extra mile to make our cruise a great one. Also, another waiter, David, helped me at lunch one day and we continued to converse the rest of the trip. He let us in on some of the problems the ship was having. My father was personally assisted by the shopping guide Russell in selecting a watch while in port, and we befriended a casino manager who taught us how to play craps and gave us free shirts. Finally, the guest relations staff was very helpful, especially considering how many guests they were having to deal with. Ports: Oslo, Norway - We took the half day city tour which was interesting but got a little boring. We went to the ski jump and around town but that's about it. You could probably get a taxi for cheaper and do it on your own. After that we walked around town and bought some cheap souvenirs. Helsinki, Finland - We took the half day tour to the Suomenlinna island fortress, which I found to be interesting because we learned a great deal of local history from our guide. I wouldn't advise going to the island on your own as it would be very hard to learn anything without a guide. After returning from that, my family went off in the city and did some shopping. They said the city was easy to get around in and there was a shuttle back to the ship from town which they used. I spent the rest of my time looking at the Carnival Spirit which was being built at a shipyard there. St. Petersburg, Russia - The first day we took the full day tour which included the city sightseeing and the Hermitage. It was a great tour, thanks in large part to our guide who was excellent. She taught us many interesting facts about Russia and the Hermitage, which by the way is an incredible museum and a must-see. The second day, we went to Catherine's Palace in Pushkin on the half day tour. It too was excellent and I found the palace to be better than Versailles. We were lucky enough to finish early there, leaving us an hour to shop, but that was all we had in Russia. We now wish we had arranged for a driver to take us around but we still had a great time. Stockholm, Sweden - Make sure you don't miss sailing through the archipelago into Stockholm as the scenery is awesome. We took the Vasa Museum tour which was the only one not canceled. Boy was that a mistake. We would have much rather gone off on our own and enjoyed the city, but instead we got to see a ship that had sunk a couple hundred years ago. Oh well...we made the best of things. The city looked pretty easy to get around in so I would maybe recommend that. Tallin, Estonia - We took the shuttle into town and walked around the old town, which was very nice. We shopped and ate along the way, before returning for an early departure. Gdansk, Poland - We did our own thing here, but did not actually go to Gdansk. We just stayed in Gdynia for about an hour and came back to the boat because it was pretty cold and rainy. However others said that it was fairly easy to take a cab and that Gdansk is a very nice little city to walk around in. Berlin, Germany - We took the bus trip into Berlin which was good but very long. We saw a lot of Berlin, but we didn't have any time on our own for shopping which was disappointing. The buses were very comfortable and we found the trip to be well worth the cost even though we could have done it cheaper on our own. Copenhagen, Denmark - We went on our own again and found the city to be very easy to navigate. We went to several jewelry stores in search of watches for my parents before finally deciding on a store and a price, which was much less than stores in the U.S. could offer. We then went to Tivoli Gardens and spent the whole evening there, which was a blast. It really is a great place for people of all ages to have fun. We then took the shuttle back to the boat. Disembarkation: The Captains Club card helped again as we were first off after the early group. It took awhile for the ship to clear and caused a great deal of nervousness for those with flights home that day. We stayed in Amsterdam one extra night and then flew home so we just had to get to our hotel which was fairly close. We had no problem finding our bags and getting a porter to help us take them to the taxi stand. Miscellaneous: -Our toilets did not work for several hours one day, but one phone call to the Guest Relations desk and the problem was solved very rapidly. -Some people are reporting problems with the key cards...a casino dealer told us the magnetic strip can be erased by anything magnetic, including their nametags. People made this a big issue when it was really not the ship's fault. Just be careful where you put your card!!! -I was amazed at the constant complaining and nitpicking I heard all around me. It seemed as if a lot of people were just looking for everything bad in the cruise and not enjoying all of the luxuries they had while on board. I understand that some people encountered more severe problems than we did and I'm sorry that happened, but I really got tired of people complaining about little things that were really trivial. It is a vacation after all, and it should be a time of relaxation rather than constant stress. -There were only 80 people under 18 and 40 teens on board, but it was still fairly easy for us to meet people and hang out with them for the duration of the cruise so its not bad at all for kids. -The tours leave no time for shopping so if that's a big goal, you'll probably have to go on your on. In Conclusion: We had a wonderful time on the trip and are very glad that they went ahead and sailed, even though the crew thought that to be a mistake. We thought everything was well handled by the staff and thought the food and service were excellent. Would we do it again? You bet. Would I book the Infinity? Of course. I do think it will be interesting to see what happens in the coming months with the ship, but if you are booked, try not to get too worried about it. I know Celebrity will do whatever it takes to make everyone happy. Hope you liked it! Kevin Read Less
This is the first review I am writing online so if it seems jumbled at times please forgive me as I will try to go in some kind of order that is easy to read and relate to. This was our third cruise (one in each of the last three ... Read More
This is the first review I am writing online so if it seems jumbled at times please forgive me as I will try to go in some kind of order that is easy to read and relate to. This was our third cruise (one in each of the last three years) so they are all pretty current in my mind for comparison. The first two were on the Grand Princess and the second on the Sea Princess. This last one was on the Celebrity Millennium. I will include some comparisons as well as a review of the Millennium. If I do not mention a part of the ship you may be interested in it is because we did not use it. Let me start with the biggest positive first, by saying the crew and the service on the Millennium was OUTSTANDING. Every person we came in contact with was friendly and smiling most of the time. Special accolades go out to our cabin steward, Advino, our waiter, Mansur and our assistant waiter, Constantine. I must also mention our assistant Maitre d', Julio who was very nice. Many other people were great also, but these were the ones we came in contact with daily so I thought I would mention them. Embarkation was smooth, fast and quite orderly. A great start to our cruise. We booked a room with a balcony in class 2b, our room was 7128 mid ship and very quiet. The room was nice but a little small for four. If I would have known, I would have upgraded to a 2a as it was a little bigger and would have been nicer to have extra space. Upon checking for our seating assignments which I suggest you do first thing, it was quite easy and my request was satisfied, all eight in our party were seated together. I will not go into every detail about the ship as you can read a brochure to get facts and pictures. I will tell you what I thought about the different rooms we frequented, service etc. The Promenade or walking deck does not go around the ship. It allows you to only go up and down one side at a time. The only deck you can really walk or jog is on deck 11. During the mid morning it was crowded and with joggers trying to get by servers and people walking it was kind of 'in every ones way'. The pool area was nice. The main pool a little small but there are two side by side and then the aqua spa pool under cover so there is plenty of swimming space. Even though they were smaller it never seemed they were crowded. There is a basketball court outside on deck 12 but you have to look for it or you won't see it. In closing out the outside portion, plenty of room for everyone (and this cruise was full) bar service and servers outside, music, towels, hot tubs and sun. Entertainment- I will start this on a positive note also. The ships singers and dancers were GREAT! Don't miss their Broadway show. The only problem is they do three full shows, different themes, but we thought they could have had more variety of talent. They also had a comedian-juggler and a Dulcimer player for their main show entertainment. They also featured a harpist (excellent) a string quartet (excellent) and a piano player- did not see- along with the Celebrity orchestra. In their clubs there was a duo, a disk jockey along with a band that played outside during the day and inside the night club at night. Only one main show played at night. I guess we were spoiled with Princess as they had two shows a night with many different entertainers including hypnotist, ventriloquist, and other Vegas type shows. And if you missed them in one venue you could always see them another night . Cruise director- was very nice but only seen him at show time. On Princess he was seen interacting many time with the guests. the club rooms were all nice but the best was the Platinum Club. Very nice and cozy. If you plan on seeing a movie forget it. They played two different movies all week and both were very old. Now on to the food. And I will try to be brief. Breakfast. We ate only on the 10th floor Ocean grill. The food was okay. We did not like the cafeteria style line you had to go through. On Princess there were stations so if you did not want what was next you could go to another station etc. Make note they do have an omelet station. It is located way beyond the normal BF line so you wont see it unless you go to the back of the grill. Lunch. About the same, food okay. But we did find a better alternative in the Aqua spa. Try it the lunches are light but tasty. Before I go on to dinner, they did have a burger bar, ice cream station and pizza, BUT read the cruise news to find out when they are open and where as they have times for everything. This was kind of annoying. On Princess you can get food any time of the day, even a full meal at 2am. Some times you may only be able to get pizza, so read the food times of service. One thing that really got to me. You could not get an ice tea or lemonade unless they were serving lunch or dinner???? At 3:30 in the afternoon, perhaps the hottest time of the day they shut down the ice tea station???? This policy is nonsense. Dinner. For all the hype the dinners were not as great as expected. Very good but when you expect fabulous that's a little disappointing. They have to learn how to make a good pasta dish. Not one was exceptional. Neither was the soup or salads. One meal on Princess was better than the next, and with each meal they would offer a special pasta dish prepared especially for that meal. They were all exceptional. Maybe the French don't make pasta sauces. I would rate the dinner food very good but would not go the next step up. Desserts were good also. One negative, you had to pay for cappuccino at dinner that is if you could get it ordered. Twice I waited and it was finally brought after we were all done with dinner. Of course our assistant Maitre d' covered it for me which was very nice. On Princess it was no problem, nor was there a charge. One other tidbit. On Princess they were cleaning the rest rooms constantly. Not only did Celebrity close them but the woman's public rooms would be out of service many times due to lack of attention. All in all we had a great time. As I said in the beginning, the crew on the Millennium was TOPS and this made the week very enjoyable. On the question air we were asked to fill out at the end of the trip it asked, would you sail Celebrity again? We did say yes but our first choice certainly would be Princess. Jedii4232@aol.comFebruary 2002 Read Less
Great ship, excellent food, no lines, good entertainment, plenty of room, comfortable Cat 8/9 room. Nice itinerary (2 days sea out and back and 5 islands in between - Barbados, St Thomas, St Martin, St Lucia and St Kitts), very pleasant ... Read More
Great ship, excellent food, no lines, good entertainment, plenty of room, comfortable Cat 8/9 room. Nice itinerary (2 days sea out and back and 5 islands in between - Barbados, St Thomas, St Martin, St Lucia and St Kitts), very pleasant embarking and disembarking. Only complaint was our original cabin 2014-vibration & noise for hours. Did get changed to deck 4 (3005) after one night (but no noise at night in orig. cabin- only different times in day) which was then fine- but what a pain to move cabins. See Celebrity board for posting about the cabin experience. Dining room service was superior-best of any ship of the 9 we have sailed. Cabin attendant also excellent. All personnel friendly and pleasant. Showroom entertainment. Celebrity dancers and singers were the best afloat-as good as any Vegas or Broadway singers and dancers. Three comedians were too many; two were ok. Lounge and deck entertainment was very good- Band Onyx was outstanding. Singer Junior from Onyx did a show in main Showroom that was excellent. The singing four Fundamentals were ok. So overall everything was very good to excellent-Royal Carib seems to have better entertainment but so did Celebrity Galaxy 14 day N. Europe cruise last year. Cruise Director Edwin Rojas was good. Wife and I would cruise Celebrity and Millennium again. BClarke172@aol.com February 2003 Read Less
My first Celebrity cruise was on the beautiful Millennium. She became my home away from home for one glorious week, and was everything I had hoped she would be. I arrived in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, April 20th, about noon. My friend John ... Read More
My first Celebrity cruise was on the beautiful Millennium. She became my home away from home for one glorious week, and was everything I had hoped she would be. I arrived in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, April 20th, about noon. My friend John had a flight that arrived earlier, so he was waiting patiently for me. We gathered up my luggage, hailed a cab, and headed for the dock. Once there, we checked our bags, and went inside to fill out some paperwork. This included the new SARS screening form, which I'm assuming all cruise lines are using. It's a brief health history-maybe five or six questions. We both must have answered correctly because they let us get in the embarkation line. One really nice thing was that there was a room with chairs to wait in, rather than standing. We were in this line for what seemed like forever, but in all reality was probably only about 30 minutes. Why is it that time goes so slowly when you're waiting in a line? But-Finally- On to the ship, smile for the camera, and let the fun begin!!! A very handsome young man took our bags, gave us champagne, and led us to our room. Here is where we met Reginaldo (Reggie), our cabin steward. He introduced himself, showed us how to use the safe, and left us to explore cabin #8052. It's a category 1B. We originally had an ocean view room-but were able to get upgraded for $175. Lucky John. He had called the Captain's Club to make a reservation for the Olympic, and the very nice lady told him about the upgrade. A few phone calls later, it was ours! And a lovely room it was. There's a sofa that's quite comfy, a little glass coffee table, and a lighted vanity/desk and chair. I thought the storage space was more than adequate. The closet is very large, with six somewhat small drawers. The safe was in the closet too, although we never used it. There were four enclosed shelves under the vanity, and lots of shelf space under the sink in the bathroom. Each of the nightstands had two rather large drawers. The bathroom was quite comfortable, with a very large shower, and four hooks on the back of the door. There's a hair dryer mounted on the wall. My one complaint is that there's no power outlet in the bathroom. Sometimes a girl would like to fix her hair in private! I really liked the carafe of water and ice on the vanity. I'm a water drinker, and miraculously, that thing was never empty. Thank you Reggie! Another nice thing is the bathrobes they leave in the closet. They're lightweight and very comfortable. It's nice to not have to pack my own robe, thus leaving more room in the suitcase for vacation purchases. As nice as all of this was-the highlight of the room was the balcony. Just slide the door open, step out, and you have your own little slice of heaven. Two chairs, a little table, and miles and miles of ocean. It was to become one of my favorite places on the ship. The perfect spot to enjoy a morning cup of tea-or coffee- in John's case. It was also convenient for John, as he's a smoker and I am not. He's very considerate in that regard, which I appreciate immensely. We always spent a few minutes there when we had our naps during the day, and in the evenings before bed. At night we left the door open when we retired for the evening. The sound of the ocean as you're drifting off to sleep makes for very pleasant dreams. Ahhhh-Oh, where was I? Oh yes, we're on the ship, it's two o'clock, and we're hungry. We made our way to the Ocean Grill Cafe for the welcome aboard buffet. There were tons of things to choose from, and everything looked very pretty. This is where I started to feel just a little spoiled. They handed me a linen lined tray, and I proceeded down the line to pick out all my favorite things. I turned to find a table, and there was another one of those handsome, helpful young gentlemen. (They're all over the ship!) He took my tray, found me a table, and held my chair for me. A girl could get used to this! We had both chosen the scalloped potatoes and the turkey, among other things. The turkey was very, very good, and the scalloped potatoes better than my mom's. (Don't tell her I said so.) We finished eating and did some exploring of the ship. We were still in port, so none of the shops were open yet, but we walked through many of the lounges and checked out the gold onyx staircase. I liked the dEcor of this ship a lot. It has a quiet elegance about it, without being stuffy. I found every room comfortable and pleasant. The dining room was amazing to me. It's two levels, open at the center. The ceiling looks blue some of the time, and gray some of the time. There's an enormous window across the back that looks out onto -what else?- the ocean. There's a pretty staircase, and an elevated staging area where the string quartet or the pianist plays during most meals. There are beautiful flower arrangements everywhere. I love flowers, I love music, and I love food--I was in my element. The ship has an interesting assortment of artwork. Some traditional, and some not exactly my cup of tea. But that's what makes our world go round. At 4 o'clock it was time to don our stylish orange life jackets and join in the muster drill. This is a very exciting activity (yawn). Everyone gathers together and listens intently (NOT) to instructions on what to do in case of an emergency at sea. This really is necessary, even though it's my least favorite part of the cruise. The one consolation is that when it's over, IT'S SAIL AWAY PARTY TIME!! We had been looking forward to this for a long time. We had been "talking" with some Internet friends on the message boards for several weeks, and had planned a get together for sail away. We went to our cabin, put away our life jackets, and retrieved our contributions to the party. John had brought a bottle of Asti, and I, some Wisconsin cheese. We headed off to find Terri and Mitch's cabin. They had a corner, with a gigantic balcony-and being the kind and generous folks they are, offered to share it with us. It was such fun meeting everyone, and putting faces to names. I'm bad with names, but can remember some of them. There were Barb and Fast Freddie, Robert and Jeff, Karen and Dan, Scooter, Stacy and her family, Kris and Andy, Fran and Brian, Wendy and Dennis, and some I just can't remember. Some of the gentlemen enjoyed cigars (YUK), and the rest of us shared beverages of choice, and just got to know each other. I'll never forget Freddie's hat sailing off into the wake, and his comment, "I never liked that hat anyway!" It was a lot of fun and a great warm up for the official Cruise Critic Party. By the time that came around, we were already old friends. It was a great kick off to a great week. After we left the party, we wandered back to our own balcony for a while. Had a short nap and got ready for our first dinner on the ship. It was a casual evening, as I guess is customary on the first day. We were at a table for eight, which is a nice size. Large enough for plenty of conversation, but small enough that you get to know each other. We had an interesting group. Donna and Dennis were originally from New Jersey (I think), and currently live in Florida. Rita and Germano were both born in Columbia, met in Las Vegas, and currently reside in Florida. Victor and Esther live in Buenos Aires, Argentina- and speak very little English. It worked out quite well, as Rita and Germano speak both Spanish and English fluently. They became the official interpreters. It was a nice group, and I enjoyed all of our meals together. Our waiters name was Garrie. He was pleasant, and fun. We spent most of the week trying to get him to talk more slowly. Francesco was the assistant waiter. He was quiet and sweet, and we ladies all fell in love with his gentle, shy way. For our first dinner I had fish, and John had the filet. We both had escargot for an appetizer. I never thought I could eat it, but on my first cruise he convinced me to try it- and I love it. I believe John had two orders. The fish was very good. Perhaps the best I've had. I was a little worried, because I had read on the boards that the fish on Celebrity was not good. I had it several times during the course of the week, and it was always excellent. John said the beef was good, too. He had it three or four different times, and said it was always cooked to order and very tender. One nice thing that they have, that they didn't have on my last cruise, is a basket of bread on the table. All of the breads, and those crunchy little bread sticks are absolutely sinful. Then to top it off, they have that yummy French butter. (John's favorite.) I seem doomed to over-indulge, but what the hey! I'm on vacation. Another thing I had tonight was a chilled fruit soup. These sometimes sound a little "yucky", but are actually one of my favorite things. One thing I steered away from was the Caesar Salad, as my friend Zoe had reported that it's "pukey". My policy is to never order anything described in those terms. After our very pleasant first dinner we visited the casino. John immediately won $300.00 playing the wheel of fortune slot machine. This may have been a very good thing, or a very bad thing. He developed a very strong emotional attachment to that machine, which lasted throughout the cruise. He would even get a little testy if he walked by and saw someone else playing "his Machine". We played for a while, and then went to Michaels club for a drink. Michael's is a piano bar, and I really like this room a lot. It's cozy and comfortable, and Rob Raguso is very talented. Michael's used to be a cigar bar, but is no longer. This is disappointing to cigar aficionados, but makes me very happy. I love piano bars. I hate cigars. I just think they smell bad. I had a glass of my favorite wine, white Zin-and John had a Brandy Alexander. His major bone of contention on his last few cruises is that they have no nutmeg at the bars for his drink. He brought his own this time, but did speak to the hotel manager. It was getting late, and neither of us had gotten much sleep the night before. We headed back to our cabin, where we found that someone had turned down the beds, dimmed the lights, and left chocolates on the pillow. Now wasn't that nice!? We spent a few minutes on the balcony, before heading off to lullaby land. It was a very nice first day. It's hard to believe I've known John for less than a year. It feels like we've been friends forever. Monday Today is a sea day. Woke up at 7:30 to the ringing of the phone, announcing that our coffee and tea were on their way. John answered the door, and we went to the balcony for what would become our morning ritual. Coffee, tea, juice and fresh croissants. I've died and gone to heaven. I've been told in the past that I wake up slow, so tried very hard to do better this time. We had a quiet morning, watched a little CNN to see what was happening with the war, and then wandered down to the emporium for a look through the shops. Around 10ish we went to the breakfast buffet and had some French toast. We had other stuff too, but the French toast is what I remember. Because it was a sea day, we had no place we had to be. We ate, napped, looked for dolphins from our balcony, played at the casino-ate, napped, looked for dolphins from our balcony, played at the casino...It was a quiet day, but pleasant. Late in the day after our last nap- it was time to get ready for our first formal night. I wore my new black dress, and John his tuxedo. He's such a gentleman. He cleans up very well, and looked quite dashing as we headed out for the evening. We had a stroll around the ship and then on to dinner. One of the hazards of not taking notes is that I forget important details. I know that John had beef again, and I had fish. I know that we had the shrimp cocktail, because I had it most every night.. Other than that, I can't remember what we had that evening. I do know that it was all good, because all of my meals were very good. The show that evening was "Spectacle Of Broadway". The cast performed various Broadway hit songs. It was very entertaining, and we both enjoyed it tremendously. The theater is pretty, with bench-type seating. It was very comfortable, and I like this type of seating much better than the standard individual theater seats. There were little cocktail tables spaced throughout the rows at about five foot intervals. Perfect for setting your wine, or Brandy Alexander on. After the show we went back to our room, and balcony to relax for a bit before bed. We stayed awake quite late, but tomorrow is a late port day, so we could sleep in. Tuesday Today we visit Casa De Campo on the Dominican Republic. We don't dock until 3:00, so we have lots of time to get ready. We slept until 7:30 when our usual room service order arrived. We were very lazy this day. Watched a little CNN to catch up on world events, and just took it easy. This morning is the official Cruise Critic party. It was scheduled for 11 o'clock. We went a little early, due to John's cafe hosting on Monday nights. Leigh is the social hostess on the Millennium. She's very nice and does a great job. She had arranged for our refreshments to be served. There were cookies, various danishes, coffee, iced tea, juice and water. About 40 people stopped by. Most of them had been to our sail away party too, so it was fun seeing them all again. The Hotel Manager came in and welcomed us. He spoke for a few minutes and answered some questions. It was a nice get together and I'm glad that we did it. Had lunch at the Metropolitan restaurant. I had something called a tuna, shrimp and egg sandwich. I thought it sounded rather strange, but it was quite good. It's an open faced sandwich on rye toast. One slice of toast had sliced hard boiled eggs and mounds of baby shrimp on it. The other one had a nice tuna salad on it. I'll order this again. John had the curried lamb, and liked it. Of course, he shared a bit with me, and although I'm not a curry, nor a lamb person- I agreed with him. After lunch we had a little nap, and at 3:00, got off the ship. We took the shuttle to Alton De Chavon. This is a recreation of a medieval Italian village, and is also an artist's colony. There were some students working in one of the courtyards when we were there. It's a delightful place to visit, and truly is like stepping back in time. The church is magnificent, and I'm hopeful that my pictures turn out well. There are cobblestone streets, little shops, and a museum. Gorgeous flowers are growing everywhere, and I do love flowers. Locals were rolling cigars, and selling them from a little cart. This seemed to be a very popular thing, and they were doing a great business. It was very hot today, and John and I went into a little bar/restaurant called "Giocasa Ristorante" for a cold drink. He had a beer and I had a rum and coke. There's a balcony here that overlooks the Rio Chavon. It's very picturesque. There was a strolling musician who was singing and playing a guitar. He was quite cute. If it seemed that people weren't paying attention to him, he'd sing louder. When we'd had our fill of this place, we took the shuttle over to "La Marina". It's a very exclusive area. Yachts in the water and lots of shops. Unfortunately, it was five o'clock and all the shops were closing. It started raining while we were here, and we soon headed back to she ship. We were tired and very hot, so were very pleasantly surprised when we reached the ship. Those handsome and helpful young men that I talked about earlier were waiting to give us chilled towels. I can't tell you how wonderfully refreshing this was. I'm going to start keeping them in my freezer at home! We went to our room for a nap, and to look for dolphins from the balcony. Still no luck. Then it was time for a shower, and get ready for dinner. We have reservations for The Olympic Restaurant tonight. I've been looking forward to this for some time now. I put on my pretty blue dress, and John his jacket and tie. The Olympic is named after the sister ship to the Titanic, and is decorated with relics from that ship. The walls are from the ship, and some of the silver and crystal as well. We were seated and offered the wine list. We declined wine, but had something called "Debonet"(sp). John recommended that I try it, and I liked it. We had been hearing wonderful things about the goat cheese soufflE, and John was anxious to try it. I was afraid I wouldn't like it, so didn't order any-knowing full well that he would share!. It was very good. I had the Iced Tropical Paradise, which is a chilled exotic fruit soup. We both had the lobster bisque, and it too, was delicious. For our entrEe's John chose the Steak Diane, and I the flambE scampi. They were both prepared table side, and were cooked to perfection. Following the entrEe is the cheese course. They bring a cart with ten or twelve different cheeses, and you pick which ones you'd like. It's served with crackers, and apples and grapes. I'm certainly not hungry anymore, but it's time for dessert. I had made my decision weeks ago. We both had the chocolate soufflE. John had his with coffee sauce. I have a friend who describes chocolate in any form as "orgasmic". I would say that in this case- that would be an apt description. We finished up with tea and coffee. It was a wonderful dining experience. The service was impeccable, the ambience ideal, and the food superb. What's more- John picked up the bill!! I've heard some folks say that this experience was not worth the $25.00 fee. That was certainly not our opinion, and we both agreed that we'd do it again. We were seated at 9 o'clock, and finished around 11:30. It was a perfect evening. We wandered into the casino for a quick spin of John's favorite game, and then back to our balcony for a few minutes before bed. Wednesday Forgot to order room service last night. Slept in a little later than usual, and then called them. Did the usual morning on the balcony routine. Got to San Juan around 10 o'clock. Had to do the immigration thing here. We just showed our passport and our immigration form. Pretty painless. The first thing we did was get a cab up to El Morro Castle. It's a huge fort that was built from 1539-1787. It rises 140 feet above sea level. Very impressive structure, with amazing views. There are underground rooms and tunnels, cannons and a kind of historic museum. We walked down the 77 stone steps. Going down wasn't so bad. But then we had to come back up. I was a little concerned for John and his heart, but we made it. After a short rest and a bottle of water we took a cab back downtown. It dropped us off at a pretty park area. It was like an old town square. I forget the name of it. There were cobblestone streets, and horse and carriage rides. People were buying birdseed to feed to the pigeons. We sat on a park bench in the shade and watched everything for a while. It was another very warm day, so we went into KFC for a coke. I decided to use the ladies room, but found that I needed a quarter to get the door open. I had no change, so my friend John loaned me one. I think this may be the first time in my life I've paid to use the bathroom. Then we walked through some of the shops. My favorite was The Butterfly People. This is very cool. They have butterfly art, enclosed in a plastic-type case. All different designs and colors. The story is that they don't kill the butterflies for this. They use one's that have just died. The prices ranged from about $60 up into the thousands. They really are beautiful and a unique gift for one's self or a friend. We ran into our new friend Jeff here, just as he was about to make his purchase. He has very good taste, as he picked out one that I might have if I were in the buying mode that day. We left here and ended up in a little shop that sold hats. John was able to get a hat band for his Panama hat, and we waited while the girl put it on for him. Then a leisurely stroll back to the ship, and lo and behold-another helpful, handsome young man with those wonderful chilled towels. We hadn't had lunch yet, so went up to the Riviera Grill to try a hamburger. They had pizza, burgers, hot dogs and French fries. We both had cheeseburgers and fries. John tried the pizza, and had no complaints. I'm not much of a beef person, but these were excellent. They're fresh, not frozen patties, and the fries were surprisingly good. Now that our tummies were satisfied, we took a little walk around the pool areas, and went up to visit the conservatory. Robert had recommended that we check it out, and we ran into him while we were there. It's two levels, with a sweet curvy staircase. We spent a few minutes admiring the flowers and plants, and then wandered back to our cabin for a nap, and a CNN update. The show tonight was before dinner, at 7:00- so had to get ready for dinner a little early. It was called Pure Platinum, and was once again very good. I heard that this is the last week on the ship for this particular cast. I almost feel sorry for the next group of cruisers, as they'll miss all this great talent. (I did say almost). We had a nice dinner with our tablemates, minus Rita and Germano. They ate somewhere else. Then the usual stop at the casino, to visit John's machine. He'd win a little and lose a little. I think at he end of the week I was up about $60. We really did have a lot of fun here throughout the week. Rob was playing some tunes at Michael's, so we stopped in for an evening drink, and a listen. This is my favorite place on the ship. It's quiet and peaceful. I'll miss it when I go home, but will think of it often in the evenings when I have a little glass of wine in my recliner. Of course, it's getting late, and we make our nightly visit to our balcony, before bed. Thursday I am VERY excited. Have been waiting for this day forever. Today we go to St John. We had early room service. They came at 6:30, because we arrive at St. Thomas at 8 o'clock. After our morning wake up, we gathered our beach things and went to find a taxi. Taxied to a place called Red Hook, which was $8 each and took about 20 minutes. The ferry to St John was $3, and they packed it full. It started raining on the way over, and we got a little wet. Nothing serious. Besides, I kind of like rain. On St John we went to a place called Mongoose Junction. It's a little open air restaurant/bar, with lots of plants, some birds in cages, and the resident cat. We chased him off the chair so we could sit down and enjoy a root beer. We sat and visited here for maybe an hour, and then found a taxi to drive us to Trunk Bay. The taxis here are just pick up trucks with two bench seats mounted in the back. Not exactly the safest, but it provides an income for the locals. It was $4, and we asked him to stop for some pictures on the way up. He was more than happy to do so. The view of Trunk Bay is breathtaking. I hear that it's rated as one of the world's top ten beaches, and I can understand why. I am not a swimmer, but I broke my waist high rule, and went in just a little deeper. It rained while we were in the water, but we were wet anyway. The water is clear and warm, the sand soft, and this is absolutely the most beautiful place that I have ever seen. I have decided that it will become my new fantasy place. When I'm home in Wisconsin, and it's snowing, with a wind chill of -20, and my toes are freezing- I will come back to Trunk Bay. This is supposed to be a nice place for snorkeling. My goal will be to learn to swim, so that the next time I'm here, I can partake of the underwater sights as well. We looked for the Mongoose that reportedly can sometimes be seen playing among the trees, but they were hiding. No mongoose and no dolphins so far this trip. I would have stayed here all day, but John had the voice of reason, and said we had to leave if we were going to see any of downtown St. Thomas. This is one bustling spot. There's a little open air market, and lots and lots of jewelry stores. I tried on a gorgeous tanzanite bracelet. It was a little out of my price range,($1995). I really liked the big globes with the gem stones in them. Maybe one day. We were trying to stop for a cold drink, but couldn't seem to find anyplace. Went into AH Rise, and sampled the different flavored rums. The chocolate is very good. The pineapple is very bad. We both got a bottle of chocolate to take home. We were hot and getting tired so we found a taxi to take us back to the ship. Once again, the chilled towels were waiting for us. That is SOOOO nice. Lunch today was room service. Tuna salad on rye rolls, cheese and fruit, and milk. For dessert John had the Black Forest cake, which he says is good. I had the apple pie, which was a bit of a disappointment. Not worth the calories. After lunch we had a good nap and a shower before heading to the casino and dinner. Tonight we dined with Dennis and Donna. Our other tablemates were having their dinner at the Olympic. Dennis and I had a nice visit while John and Donna escaped for their pre-dessert smoking ritual. A quick visit to the wheel of fortune, and then on to the show. It was a Latin entertainer by the name of Fito Giron. He does a bilingual show. It was fine, but not great-in my opinion. We left a little early, and went to Michaels for our usual glass of wine and Brandy Alexander, before retiring to our balcony. We stayed awake quite late tonight. I think it was after two, but we had a very nice evening. Friday We have firmly established a morning balcony routine, and today is no exception. This morning in our search for dolphins, John spots the flying fish. It took me awhile to see them, but finally did. They aren't very big. They look like little birds floating over the surface of the water. We are having a sea day, so there's nothing to hurry for. We opt for our favorite activities. Napping, slot machines, eating, shopping, and hanging out on the balcony. I should probably feel guilty-but hey! I'm on vacation. At 4 o'clock we went to tea in the Metropolitan. They served finger sandwiches, a variety of pretty desserts, and of course-tea. We sat at a table with four ladies, and had a very nice time. Today is the last sea day, and formal night. I wore my blue velvet dress, and John his tuxedo. This is the dinner where they serve lobster. We had shrimp cocktail, lobster, and I forget everything else. We shared a second entrEe. I think it was the pork chop. Very yummy, but we were too full to do it justice. At the end of the meal, they have a celebration kind of thing. All the waiters parade around the dining room with Baked Alaska and sing for us. I had never had baked Alaska. It's basically ice cream, but tasty. The show tonight is the Celebrity singers and dancers, performing "Classique, A Musical Odyssey". It was a great show and we both liked it a lot. I had my usual wine, and John decided on a grasshopper. He let me taste it since I'd never had one before. The gala buffet is tonight, so we join in the line to look at all the food. There's ice sculptures, fruit and vegetable sculptures, and dozens of delectable looking desserts. We feasted only with our eyes, as we had just finished that fabulous dinner. Then back to our balcony, and the perfect end to a lovely day. Saturday Today is the last day of our cruise, and I'm a little sad. We're going to Nassau, but are only there from noon to six. We've both been here before, so aren't that excited about it. We shared a ride with Fran, Brian and their son over to the Atlantis. This is one opulent place. We spent some money in the casino, and took a look around. There's an aquarium here, but there's a $25 fee to go in unless you're staying on the property. We were able to see the big Manta Ray though. He must have been eight or nine feet across. We had both seen the aquarium on previous visits, and it really is awesome. We spent some time looking at the yachts, and window shopping, and then got a cab back to the Straw Market area. We walked thru from front to back-one time. This place is crazy. You can almost get through, if you walk sideways. They sell t-shirts, straw baskets, jewelry and other souvenir types of things. It is good for the ego. Every vendor called me either a pretty lady, or a beautiful lady. It didn't work though, because I didn't buy a thing. We walked down a little alley way and found Captain Vinney's. It's a little sidewalk cafe, and I had a wonderful Goombay Smash. It's made with Coconut Rum, Gold Rum, and pineapple juice. John had a beer. It started to rain a little while we were here, but we didn't really mind. I was feeling quite mellow as we headed out to the main street in search of the little shop that sells conch shells. It's called "Island Tings". We got some sliced conch shells-very pretty, and I got an ornament made out of shells for my Christmas tree. Then we walked back to the ship, and again ordered sandwiches from room service. We had our normal afternoon nap and shower, and then off to the casino before dinner. It's casual dining tonight, as it's the last night. We have to pack and have our bags in the hall by midnight. It was a nice dinner. We all exchanged e-mail addresses, and took pictures. Victor invited us all to come and visit them in Argentina. I had dessert every night, and they were always good, but the chocolate cake tonight was especially memorable. We bid a fond farewell to Garrie, Francesco, and our new friends before heading to the casino. John took the opportunity to say good bye to the Wheel Of Fortune, by giving it one final spin before going to our room to pack. We finished that depressing task and then spent a few minutes of the last night on our balcony. Sunday Up and out. Had to go clear immigration and then had a little breakfast. Waited around until it was our turn to get off the ship, collected our luggage and looked for the shuttle to the rental car. It seemed like a long wait, but finally we got the car and headed out. We drove to a place called Saw Grass Mills. It's a huge shopping mall. Did window shopping, and stopped for lunch at Popeye's. I'd never been to a Popeye's before. They have very good chicken. Then we took the long way back to Fort Lauderdale airport. It was a sad day for me. I had a 5:45 flight, so John dropped me off. His flight wasn't until 8 o'clock, so he had some time to kill. My flight got in at 7:55 Wisconsin time. I got the shuttle to the hotel, picked up my car and a diet coke, and headed home. I was half way home when I thought I heard my phone ringing. It was John! Still in Fort Lauderdale. His flight was overbooked, so he took a bump. The airline paid for his hotel, dinner and three round trip fares! He is still the luckiest guy I know!! I've been home a week. I'm kind of back into the swing of things. Still can't get used to not having chocolates on my pillow at night, and no one's been making my bed for me. I go to the window and look out, but there is no ocean. If I want to eat, I have to go to the kitchen and fix something myself. I definitely have post cruise depression. I miss the ship, I miss our balcony, and I miss my friend. But I do have my Millennium memories. Lynngould1@aol.com May 2003 Read Less
The ship is stunning. The different areas of the ship are not only beautiful, but well organized. I have read many of the passenger reviews and cannot understand how anyone can arrive at the conclusion that the Millennium is not one of the ... Read More
The ship is stunning. The different areas of the ship are not only beautiful, but well organized. I have read many of the passenger reviews and cannot understand how anyone can arrive at the conclusion that the Millennium is not one of the most beautiful ships on the seas. Embarkation This was not a wonderful experience, but with almost 2000 passengers attempting to get on the vessel at the same time I was not surprised that there would be a lines. I felt that security measures were taken seriously by both staff and passengers. This process took about 45 minutes to complete. The cabin my wife and I stayed in was large (Cat. 1A) and had exceptional storage. The bathroom was clean and the shower was large enough to feel comfortable for a man of my size (280lbs). The balconies are good size and the overhang from the deck above does shelter one from the hot Caribbean sun. The staff is professional and attentive. Our ever need was met with gracious hospitality and enthusiasm. The officers of the ship are somewhat removed, but appear busy doing their job. The room is cleaned and refreshed with new towels twice a day. Room service was efficient and timely. The food is exceptional and always presented in outstanding fashion. One may encounter occasional lines at the buffets, but they move quickly. The Metropolitan is a wonderful place to dine and again the staff is extremely attentive. The violins playing soft music in the background added to the sophisticated mood. The Olympic provides an over the top experience in elegant dinning. There is a tasteful richness in both the decoration and presentation of food and service. The history and ambiance of this room are not to be missed. This 3 hours event is well worth the $25 per person charge. The entertainment, while not the best I have encountered, is enjoyable. It is best to get to a show between 20 and 30 minutes in advance to secure a nice view. Jim the cruise director is exceptional and it is readily apparent he enjoys his job. The art displayed throughout the ship is interesting. Although, not of my taste, it does fit with the modern beauty of this ship. The art auctions provided are informative and well organized. The conservatory is a nice place to visit and we did have a lovely vase of fresh flowers delivered to our room on the first day of our 10 day cruise and they still appeared fresh on the last day. One of the most enjoyable parts of any cruise is the opportunity to meet other individuals from across the United States and the world. Our dinner companions were wonderful and entertaining. It was suggested to us that we request a table of 8-10 people to provide a full compliment of personalities. This was excellent advice. The disembarkation process was somewhat stressful. Actually getting off the ship was not that difficult, but obtaining one's luggage is an event to behold. This process can take up to one hour. Once you have your bags in hand it is time to get a taxi. This was the most disorganized part of the entire cruise experience. There is no organized system in place to direct passengers. Tempers were on edge and there are no representatives from the ship to assist in this process. We did make it to the air terminal on time, but this is the one area that needs some attention by Celebrity. If you are looking for a refined and relaxing cruise experience, my wife and I encourage you to book one on the Millennium. Tjalex07@aol.comJune 2002 Read Less
Celebrity Millennium 11/02 by Jeanne3150 What a wonderful cruise! This was our 3rd cruise with Celebrity, the others were on Summit and Mercury. We had more fun on this cruise than the others, although they were wonderful too. ... Read More
Celebrity Millennium 11/02 by Jeanne3150 What a wonderful cruise! This was our 3rd cruise with Celebrity, the others were on Summit and Mercury. We had more fun on this cruise than the others, although they were wonderful too. Embarkation was a breeze as it has always been with Celebrity. We arrived around 12:30 and were on board by 12:45. On top of the ease with embarkation we were thrilled to find we had been upgraded to a Royal Suite, what a wonderful way to begin our cruise! The Royal Suite has a separate living room and bedroom along with a large balcony that includes a Jacuzzi (which we used nearly every night!!) Awaiting our arrival were our confirmation notices from the Olympic restaurant which we had booked prior to departure. If you haven't been to one of Celebrity's "Specialty" restaurants you have truly missed out on something special. We had already had the pleasure of dining at the Normandy on Summit and we couldn't wait to see if Olympic was as good and to our delight it was. The food is excellent but the service is the reason that the experience is so special. The staff is there to satisfy your every urge or whim and seem to take delight when you are happy (I know that's their job...but they are excellent at making you think they care if you enjoy your dining experience or not). We spent 2 wonderful evenings at the Olympic on this cruise, if you sail on Millennium make sure you go at least once, it is well worth the $25.00 service charge. On our other Celebrity cruises we utilized the spa with a massage or facial and we enjoyed them but the staff at Millennium's spa made you feel truly welcome. Consequently we found ourselves spending more time than we had anticipated in this area but we had chosen this cruise to pamper ourselves after an especially difficult year and the spa certainly helped fulfill that desire. As usual the spa staff wanted to sell some of their products but when I let them know I wasn't interested they did not push, which was great. Anyway they were a very friendly spa staff and made you want to return over & over. While I love the overall spa on both Millennium and Summit, the Thalassotherapy pool is MUCH better on the Mercury class ships. The food on Millennium was very good as it always is on Celebrity. We found ourselves utilizing the formal dining room for lunch much more and enjoyed that. We will probably use it exclusively on our next cruise, the food served is much better than the normal Buffet style at the Ocean Cafe. Breakfast was usually something light delivered to the suite so that we could sit on the balcony and enjoy the sea air. Dinners were great in the main dining room, although we missed the lobster night, opting for the Olympic that night. We also missed dinner the third night when our shore excursion arrived late from San Juan, that was the only disappointing food as the buffet offered in the Ocean Cafe that night was average at best. But we didn't care, we just had some Pizza from room service later and were fine. The entertainment on Millennium was also excellent. We enjoyed it more than any other cruise we have been on. The Celebrity singers and dancers did a wonderful job on the 3 big shows. Our favorite late night hang out quickly became Michael's Club. This used to be a smoking lounge but was converted last fall into a piano bar and it was wonderful. The musician was good and a lot of fun, taking requests from the audience. It seemed we ended every night in this lounge sipping Spanish Coffee. Our room attendants also did a marvelous job, the suite was always perfect on our return, no matter what time it was. Celebrity ships are so clean, it makes you feel great knowing the extra effort they obviously make to keep the ship sanitized!! We booked this ship for the ship not for the stops it was making so I don't have a lot to say about that, but we did enjoy going to the rain forest in San Juan, we had a great guide that day even if we did get back late. We mistakenly chose to go Kayaking in the Dominican Republic. It wasn't much fun, the guide disappeared in the little town he left us all in and the kayaking was on a not too clean river. But, that's OK, we chose the excursion and have a few interesting stories to tell because of it. Overall we LOVED Millennium and Celebrity again. So much so that 2 days after our return we booked ourselves on an October 2003 Infinity cruise through the Panama Canal and I can't wait till then!!! JR34951@aol.com September 2003 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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