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We took our first cruise on the New Year's 7 day cruise from 12/28/03- 1/1/04. I was traveling with two teenagers -ages 13 and 16-so the sailing date coincided well with school vacation. The cruise was very crowded. 1900 people- 650 children and 300 teenagers. The ship was large enough to accommodate large crowds but our overall experience was only fair. Fort Lauderdale lodging: We stayed at the Marriott Marina the night before embarkation and the hotel rooms and hotel lobby were very crowded with tourists leaving and arriving from a host of different cruise lines. The hotel does provide free transportation to the pier and it is recommended that you sign up with the concierge the night before and get a time and van #. It was a bit of a zoo getting to the vans and getting to the pier. Expect big crowds. Folks on the ship: Kids had a great time- met other kids from around the country and the world. Lots of activities. Fewer for adults who don't drink or party. Lesson learned: travel with another family or friends if you are an adult. Embarkation: Very smooth. Be sure to have your Celebrity documents filled out and you can breeze through. Once inside the terminal, the lines were a bit long- about a 10 minute wait at 2 p.m. Some Celebrity personnel check and double check your credit cards and passports prior to boarding. Before boarding, on board pics were taken. I couldn't tell if they were for security or for purchase (the latter). Boarding went quickly and we were greeted with champagne glasses filled with champagne or orange juice. A bit of an overdramatized entrance. Stateroom: We had a great stateroom staff- Lawrence and one assistant. Our room was mid ship on deck 7, port side. I'd recommend a port side room as you have a better view coming into the ports. One drawback is that the inside staterooms are across from some of the portside exterior rooms. Starboard rooms don't. We had a category 2B room- deluxe suite with a veranda. The veranda was definitely worthwhile and deck 6 and 7 are the best for stability. If I had to rebook, I would have reserved 2 rooms because my teenagers were out very late in the evening and had a tendency to wake me when they came in after midnight. The room was spotless, the bathroom very clean- all in all very, very clean. Shower was good. Dining: We had 3 formals on the cruise even though the promotional materials only listed 2. Because we had only brought 2 formal outfits, we ate one evening in the Sushi bar which was fairly good and very quiet. The dinners in the Metropolitan were good. The food was good but a bit overrated. Our waiter, Mauricio was excellent. Our request for a large table (in our reservation) was denied and guest services and the Maitre D' were unwilling to change our seating assignment. We ended up eating by ourselves. I complained to the concierge but he said there was nothing they could do; that the Maitre D' makes all decisions. As consolation, they sent a bottle of champagne and basket of fruit to my room. It would have been simpler to have changed the seating. I found the level of customer service above the wait staff and stateroom staff to be poor. Celebrity needs to train their other staff to be more customer oriented. Other food choices were limited. We were unable to get a reservation in the Olympic Restaurant. The buffets were crowded but the food selection was varied. Room service was excellent. Ask the stateroom attendant for the special menu of the day. Kids loved the pizza delivered to the room- even if the pizza was only average in quality. Charging for sodas and bottled water ($2.00 a pop) was outrageous. Celebrity should include these charges as other cruise lines are beginning to do. Spa/Gym: Gym was great except when the seas were rough. I was unable to sign up for any classes or spa services. They were all full. Lesson learned: board very early and book all special services such as special restaurant, gym and spa. Entertainment: I went to one "broadway show". It was so poor that I had to leave 1/2 way through. The singers were off key; used microphones that covered their faces and massacred some of my favorite musical pieces. If you've seen the real thing, don't go to these shows. Skipped the casino altogether. Ports of call: San Juan was a fiasco. US immigration put the Millenium through lots of hoops because of heightened security status- code orange. It took many hours to clear immigration and the crew- including the cruise director- seemed completely stumped. The ship made announcements on the PA system that contradicted what the staff said. It was very confusing and almost amusing. The security exercise had many holes in it. The Dominican Republic and St Thomas did not put us through any of these exercises and the disembarkation went smoothly. A bit embarrassing for a US citizen. Best port of call: St. Thomas- we went on a beach snorkel tour to St. John. Great boat ride. St. John is gorgeous but the beach at Trunk Bay on New Year's Day was too crowded. Lesson learned: Don't take a big cruise line if you want small or intimate shore excursions. The shore excursions are a bit zooey and impersonal. Or book your own excursions if you know what you are doing. Or don't travel on a major holiday but this is hard to avoid with children. Disembarkation at Fort Lauderdale: Much smoother than the San Juan experience but still took several hours. Our stateroom attendants wanted us out at 8:30 a.m. even though we were told to report to the theatre to disembark at 10:30 a.m. Once off the boat, 9,000 people were in the Port because 4 other cruise ships had landed that morning. Getting a taxi was near to impossible. Lesson learned: get a porter. Don't start or end your cruise in FLL. It is simply too crowded. Our taxicab driver in FLL remarked that if the mayor could have seen the mess at the pier on that Sunday morning, "he would have had a heart attack." If we cruise again, we would fly to San Juan first and probably take a smaller ship. Post-Cruise- While we had a fairly good time on the cruise, the crowning blow came after we had returned home. First the cruise line (Royal Caribbean) mistakenly debited my checking account thousands of dollars which I'm still trying to collect. The cruise line has admitted that they made an error but did not reverse the charge for over 2 weeks. Secondly, they accidently charged my credit card twice for my onboard charges. My credit card company was able to deny the second charge after 3 calls. Celebrity/Royal Caribbean's post cruise customer service line is slow, confusing and bureaucratic. I was put on hold for over 2 hours on one Saturday and was then told that they couldn't help me until Monday. The cruise line has a long way to go in beefing up their customer service. I feel sorry for anyone that has a big dispute with them. Their poor service should be reported to the Better Business Bureau. I will not travel with them again. Lesson learned: NEVER give the cruise line a debit card number for online purchases. Always use a credit card so you can dispute charges that are wrong. I hope this review helps other travelers avoid the problems we encountered.

Millennium - Eastern Caribbean

Celebrity Millennium Cruise Review by clongley

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2003
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean View with Balcony 2B
We took our first cruise on the New Year's 7 day cruise from 12/28/03- 1/1/04. I was traveling with two teenagers -ages 13 and 16-so the sailing date coincided well with school vacation.
The cruise was very crowded. 1900 people- 650 children and 300 teenagers. The ship was large enough to accommodate large crowds but our overall experience was only fair.
Fort Lauderdale lodging: We stayed at the Marriott Marina the night before embarkation and the hotel rooms and hotel lobby were very crowded with tourists leaving and arriving from a host of different cruise lines. The hotel does provide free transportation to the pier and it is recommended that you sign up with the concierge the night before and get a time and van #. It was a bit of a zoo getting to the vans and getting to the pier. Expect big crowds.
Folks on the ship: Kids had a great time- met other kids from around the country and the world. Lots of activities. Fewer for adults who don't drink or party. Lesson learned: travel with another family or friends if you are an adult.
Embarkation: Very smooth. Be sure to have your Celebrity documents filled out and you can breeze through. Once inside the terminal, the lines were a bit long- about a 10 minute wait at 2 p.m. Some Celebrity personnel check and double check your credit cards and passports prior to boarding. Before boarding, on board pics were taken. I couldn't tell if they were for security or for purchase (the latter). Boarding went quickly and we were greeted with champagne glasses filled with champagne or orange juice. A bit of an overdramatized entrance.
Stateroom: We had a great stateroom staff- Lawrence and one assistant. Our room was mid ship on deck 7, port side. I'd recommend a port side room as you have a better view coming into the ports. One drawback is that the inside staterooms are across from some of the portside exterior rooms. Starboard rooms don't. We had a category 2B room- deluxe suite with a veranda. The veranda was definitely worthwhile and deck 6 and 7 are the best for stability. If I had to rebook, I would have reserved 2 rooms because my teenagers were out very late in the evening and had a tendency to wake me when they came in after midnight. The room was spotless, the bathroom very clean- all in all very, very clean. Shower was good.
Dining: We had 3 formals on the cruise even though the promotional materials only listed 2. Because we had only brought 2 formal outfits, we ate one evening in the Sushi bar which was fairly good and very quiet. The dinners in the Metropolitan were good. The food was good but a bit overrated. Our waiter, Mauricio was excellent. Our request for a large table (in our reservation) was denied and guest services and the Maitre D' were unwilling to change our seating assignment. We ended up eating by ourselves. I complained to the concierge but he said there was nothing they could do; that the Maitre D' makes all decisions. As consolation, they sent a bottle of champagne and basket of fruit to my room. It would have been simpler to have changed the seating. I found the level of customer service above the wait staff and stateroom staff to be poor. Celebrity needs to train their other staff to be more customer oriented.
Other food choices were limited. We were unable to get a reservation in the Olympic Restaurant. The buffets were crowded but the food selection was varied. Room service was excellent. Ask the stateroom attendant for the special menu of the day. Kids loved the pizza delivered to the room- even if the pizza was only average in quality.
Charging for sodas and bottled water ($2.00 a pop) was outrageous. Celebrity should include these charges as other cruise lines are beginning to do.
Spa/Gym: Gym was great except when the seas were rough. I was unable to sign up for any classes or spa services. They were all full. Lesson learned: board very early and book all special services such as special restaurant, gym and spa.
Entertainment: I went to one "broadway show". It was so poor that I had to leave 1/2 way through. The singers were off key; used microphones that covered their faces and massacred some of my favorite musical pieces. If you've seen the real thing, don't go to these shows. Skipped the casino altogether.
Ports of call: San Juan was a fiasco. US immigration put the Millenium through lots of hoops because of heightened security status- code orange. It took many hours to clear immigration and the crew- including the cruise director- seemed completely stumped. The ship made announcements on the PA system that contradicted what the staff said. It was very confusing and almost amusing. The security exercise had many holes in it. The Dominican Republic and St Thomas did not put us through any of these exercises and the disembarkation went smoothly. A bit embarrassing for a US citizen.
Best port of call: St. Thomas- we went on a beach snorkel tour to St. John. Great boat ride. St. John is gorgeous but the beach at Trunk Bay on New Year's Day was too crowded. Lesson learned: Don't take a big cruise line if you want small or intimate shore excursions. The shore excursions are a bit zooey and impersonal. Or book your own excursions if you know what you are doing. Or don't travel on a major holiday but this is hard to avoid with children.
Disembarkation at Fort Lauderdale: Much smoother than the San Juan experience but still took several hours. Our stateroom attendants wanted us out at 8:30 a.m. even though we were told to report to the theatre to disembark at 10:30 a.m. Once off the boat, 9,000 people were in the Port because 4 other cruise ships had landed that morning. Getting a taxi was near to impossible. Lesson learned: get a porter. Don't start or end your cruise in FLL. It is simply too crowded. Our taxicab driver in FLL remarked that if the mayor could have seen the mess at the pier on that Sunday morning, "he would have had a heart attack." If we cruise again, we would fly to San Juan first and probably take a smaller ship.
Post-Cruise- While we had a fairly good time on the cruise, the crowning blow came after we had returned home. First the cruise line (Royal Caribbean) mistakenly debited my checking account thousands of dollars which I'm still trying to collect. The cruise line has admitted that they made an error but did not reverse the charge for over 2 weeks.
Secondly, they accidently charged my credit card twice for my onboard charges. My credit card company was able to deny the second charge after 3 calls. Celebrity/Royal Caribbean's post cruise customer service line is slow, confusing and bureaucratic. I was put on hold for over 2 hours on one Saturday and was then told that they couldn't help me until Monday. The cruise line has a long way to go in beefing up their customer service. I feel sorry for anyone that has a big dispute with them. Their poor service should be reported to the Better Business Bureau. I will not travel with them again. Lesson learned: NEVER give the cruise line a debit card number for online purchases. Always use a credit card so you can dispute charges that are wrong.
I hope this review helps other travelers avoid the problems we encountered.
clongley’s Full Rating Summary
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Rates
Ages 13 to 15
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